So people aren’t keen on the state of New Columbia, a new name for District of Columbia proposed by a commission working to make D.C. the 51st state.
The commission’s endorsement this week of “New Columbia”, a moniker dating to 1982, has sparked some backlash — including more than 700 comments to a Washington Post article and nearly 8,000 respondents to an informal survey on the subject.
Maybe the passions shouldn’t be surprising. It’s been a long time since anyone named a state (Hawaii was the last state to join the union in 1959 – that name likely came from “Owhyhee”, the native language for ‘homeland’). And we’re a few centuries removed from naming our states after English queens (Virginia and Maryland).
The last time District residents weighed in on a state name was during a 1982 referendum when New Columbia beat out Potomac and Anacostia.
More than half of our poll respondents yesterday said they don’t like any of these names, although the more recently coined Douglass Commonwealth – which would allow the new state to keep its D.C. abbreviation – got the most love. Before our resident pollsters yell at us, we should note the poll has no scientific value. It’s just another way for readers to express opinions, like the comment section.
Some readers were hostile to the idea of ditching “D.C”; others were dubious about a New Columbia when there’s no Old Columbia. And a fair number of respondents don’t want to honor Christopher Columbus, part of a growing skepticism about Columbus’ contributions to America.
Others don’t want the same initials at North Carolina (though the District would keep the D.C. postal code, according to shadow Sen. Paul Strauss). The usual skeptics of D.C. statehood offer “Maryland” as a great state name, suggesting not-so-subtly that the city ought to just drop its campaign and annex itself to the Free State.
Let’s hear your suggestions for an alternative state names. We’ll add some of the best ideas here later in the afternoon.
And please, no Statey McStateface.
Update: We closed the suggestions form with more than 450 submissions as of 5:30 p.m. Many respondents say they want to stick with District of Columbia. Here are some other ideas that caught our eye, but feel free to keep the discussion going in the comments section:
“a) We keep DC b) We keep District. Locally, everyone says “I live in the District” – we have District and DC pride. I would hate to lose that!”
-Molly from U Street Corridor
“Pays tribute to the original city planner”
-Scott from Capitol Hill
“Hamilton was Washington’s right hand man. Seems fitting”
-Josh B from DC
“Not only is Abraham Lincoln one of our nation’s most admired former presidents, the Union he restored virtually fractured along the District’s borders. Furthermore, his assassination occurred in our city’s center – not far from one of our Nation’s greatest monuments erected in his honor. “
-George Goodno, Alexandria
“Named for local indigenous tribe rather than foreign invader”
– Jean Wogaman, Bethesda
And of course, there were some chuckle worthy submissions:
Pipe Dream (It’s realistic) — cb from Alexandria
Doris (I just like the name Doris) — Doris
Waist (It’s inside the beltway) — Jake from Virginia
House of Pain (Reflects the fact we have to live cheek by jowl with members of Congress) — Ryan from SW
Reagan (It might win over one or two Republicans) — Mike from Alexandria