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While a sitting Illinois senator, Barack Obama voted for the D.C. Voting Rights Act. During his campaign for the White House, Obama overwhelmingly won the District of Columbia presidential primary and he received all 15 votes at the Colorado convention.
In November 2008, Obama received the District’s three electoral votes, continuing the District’s perfect record of never casting its presidential votes for the Republican Party since it was first granted those rights in 1964 via the 23rd Amendment.
Mayor Adrian Fenty proclaimed that a President Obama would work hard to obtain our voting rights and threw his support behind him. Since then, our mayor does get invited to some wonderful events at the White House and takes the president to Ben’s Chili Bowl. I wish the mayor had the sense to ask the president to pass our voting rights bill while asking him to pass the mustard!
Meanwhile, back on the Hill, Eleanor Holmes Norton toils away and gets what appears to be zero support from the White House on her quest for voting rights. At one point the president says his plate is too full with other matters. I will grant him that war and health care and the economy do take the president’s time. But let’s get real! Would it have taken him any time to order someone to change his car fleet’s license tags to the one that most of us have on our cars? A concerted effort was made to ask him for a one-liner in the State of the Union urging passage of the D.C. voting right bill. His response was a resounding “no.”
I am on DC Vote’s board of directors. During a gathering of some of my fellow directors, I theorized that one of the reasons for Obama’s lack of support was the administration’s internalized racism or fear of being perceived as too controlled by the African-American community. Judging from the looks on some of their faces, they thought I was drinking the water from the Anacostia River.
Our city, the capital of a nation that fights wars for democracy and human rights, has a chief executive not willing to spend any political capital to put an end to the plantation mentality on the Hill. Is our president afraid that since this District of Columbia is a majority black city that the right would accuse him of selling out? As always, actions speak louder than words and our president disappoints those who welcomed him to Washington. —John Klenert
Re: “Mayor promises greater visibility in LGBT community” (news, Aug. 19)
Visibility — after four years? Funny how politicians get religion right around re-election time. At present, isn’t the front-and-center issue for the D.C. gay community that of safety? We get the kind of government we demand. Are you satisfied? —Bill
Less than one month and the Prince of Pennsylvania Avenue FINALLY realizes he has problems beyond attending the High Heel Race and Pride? Thanks, but no thanks. You have lost my vote! —DC John
Keep up the great work mayor! The farther we get away from the past dark days of Marion Barry and the giveaways, the better off we, the citizens of this city, will be. —Frankie James