Dreaming of a new New Columbia
By Monica Hesse and Dan Zak,
Hark, citizens of the District. News of import. On Wednesday, at the close of both the 112th Congress and his career, retiring Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Quit) introduced the New Columbia Admission Act, which would transform the District of Columbia into the 51st state in the union. Under the proposed bill S. 3696, you would finally be afforded the same rights as your friends across the Potomac River and Eastern Avenue. But! New Columbia would be just a wee bit smaller than old D.C., because the federal government would retain jurisdiction over its own buildings, the monuments and the Mall. ¶ This is the first time in nearly 20 years that a D.C. statehood bill has been introduced in the Senate. ¶ It has no chance of passing. ¶ But that’s no excuse for shirking our civic duties. As long as Congress is proposing to redraw the area, we will propose additional geographic amendments to improve the bill. Behold, your new New Columbia:
1. To eliminate confusion, the town of Columbia, Md., shall become part of New Columbia but be known as Old Columbia.
2. The neighborhood known as Georgetown shall be incorporated into the state of Connecticut, adjacent to its kindred township, Greenwich. This new, quaint-but-luxurious municipality shall be referred to as Georgewich. There will still be no Metro service.
3. In lieu of demanding the return of Virginian territory to reinstate the District’s original diamond shape, New Columbia requests only the ownership of Alexandria’s King Street (in its entirety), as well as Reagan National Airport (excluding Terminal A, which the commonwealth may retain).
4. FedEx Field, and the infrastructure needed to visit and support the stadium, shall become part of New Columbia; the Washington Redskins shall be rechristened the New Columbian Original Inhabitants of the Americas. In exchange, Maryland shall assume ownership of the Washington Wizards.
5. New Columbia shall annex Spa World.
6. McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon, at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, shall be ceded to Virginia in order to shorten the commute of its regular clientele.
7. We move to strike Sec. 112 (c)(2) of S. 3696, which makes the John A. Wilson Building part of New Columbia despite its location within the bounds of the new federal district. The District may keep the building and the council members inside it.
8. Since S. 3696 would eliminate the “Washington” designation from most of the geographic area currently known as “Washington, D.C.,” New Columbia shall assume control over historic Mount Vernon, for spite.
9. The Anacostia residence of D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) shall become, like the Vatican, a sovereign city-state. It shall be walled off from the rest of the city, and Barry must heretofore be addressed not as “Mayor for Life” but as “His Permanence.”