AMONG THE many statements that President Obama will make during the upcoming week’s inaugural events will be a small but significant one about the continuing second-class citizenship of those who live in the nation’s capital. Mr. Obama’s decision to use District license plates with the words “Taxation Without Representation” on all presidential vehicles is an encouraging sign of his support for the city. We hope it signals a new willingness by him to try to correct the injustices endured by the District.
“President Obama has lived in the District now for four years, and has seen first-hand how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children and pay taxes, without having a vote in Congress,” the White House said in a statement about the decision. Use of the plates will start this weekend and continue for the duration of his second term. The move follows a spirited lobbying effort by local officials and advocates. The D.C. Council unanimously passed a resolution saying that display of the slogan would highlight the “fundamentally unfair and undemocratic condition of District residents.” Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) last week hand-delivered a specially made plate to a senior administration official; the advocacy group D.C. Vote launched a petition drive.