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Democratic Destiny and the District of Columbia: Federal Politics and Public Policy

My essay, “Communicating Liberation in Washington, DC,” appears in this book which, “contributes substantially to urban affairs and public policy literature by presenting an introduction to the complex politics and public policy issues of Washington, D.C. The uniqueness of the city, as elaborated in this volume, provides background for understanding the non-traditional congressional relationship with the city and the way in which this establishes and perpetuates the continuing fight for congressional representation, real home rule and equitable federal benefits for citizens of the District of Columbia.

Usually becoming a mayor, member of a city council, or agency head in a major city could become a stepping stone to higher office. In Washington, D.C. however, this has not been the case. Contests for political leadership operate in a unique political climate because Washington, D.C is the capital of the U.S., subject to congressional oversight, has a majority African American population, and has a majority Democratic population. Those who become mayor are therefore, confined to play a local with rare opportunities for a national role. One Objective of this volume is to highlight the difficulties of experiencing political democracy and adequate policy distribution by citizens of the District of Columbia. These analyses conclude that one of the major obstacles to these objectives is the manner in which home rule was constructed and persists, leading to the conclusion that the desire of citizens and their leaders for change is well founded.”

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