Beliefnet
God's Politics

Jim WallisLike many other Americans, I have avidly followed the campaigns this fall for the House and Senate. I have seen scores of political ads on television. I know it is an important election in which a great deal is at stake for the future direction of our country.

But today, when the rest of America finally gets to vote, I will still be at home watching. I live in the disenfranchised colony of the District of Columbia, which has no vote in the U.S. Congress. The ads I saw were all for Maryland and Virginia. (I get to vote for a Mayor, City Council, and School Board, which are certainly important, but no vote for Congress.)

When there are debates in the next Congress on tax and budget policies, deciding whether they will benefit the wealthiest or the common good, I will have no vote. Yet I pay federal taxes, and I care about how my money is spent.

When there are debates in the next Congress on Iraq, on whether we will “stay the course” of violence and death, or begin a policy of withdrawal, I will have no vote. Yet young men and women from D.C. serve and die in that war.

D.C. has more people than Wyoming, and just slightly less than North Dakota and Vermont. Yet they each have a Representative and two Senators. I have a “non-voting delegate.”

So, to the rest of the United States on this Election Day, enjoy your day in the sun, as you play your role in the great drama of democracy. You will elect people who will affect your lives and mine, while I am forced to sit on the sideline watching. Today, “We the People” doesn’t include me.

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