April 17, 2011

Another tax filing deadline is here, and the federal government has again gladly taken my federal income tax. What it has not done, gladly or otherwise, is give me a vote in Congress in return.

It has been 45 years since I moved to the District from Texas. When I arrived, I did not know about its taxation without representation. It just never occurred to me that this great, democratic country that fights for the right of people to vote around the globe would deny its own citizens in its own capital this same right. Once I learned that was the case, I went about trying to right this terrible wrong. With lots of efforts both individually and collectively here, nationally and with members of Congress, I just knew that this injustice would be gone. But here we are, 45 years later, still with no vote.

Dramatic action is needed. Taking to the streets and getting arrested is one such action, and it is fine with me. But better still would be taking “no taxation without representation” literally, the way our forefathers and foremothers did. Next year at tax time, if I am still denied my right to vote in Congress, and no real movement is afoot, I am ready to deny the federal government my taxes. I will look at setting aside my taxes in an escrow account. I hope my fellow disenfranchised D.C. residents will join me in this effort.

Carol Schwartz, Washington

The writer, a Republican, is a former at-large member of the D.C. Council.