On Monday, Washington D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered 51-star American flags to be hoisted along Pennsylvania Avenue for the nation’s 106th Flag Day, celebrated on June 14, to advocate for D.C. statehood.
The directive, she said, was “a reminder to Congress and the nation that the 700,000 tax-paying American citizens living in Washington, D.C., demand to be recognized,” according to the New York Post.
“On Flag Day, we celebrate American ideals, American history, and American liberty. But the very foundation of those ideals, and the basis for our liberty, is representation,” the mayor explained. “D.C.’s disenfranchisement is a stain on American democracy—a 220-year-old wrong that demands to be righted.”
The demonstration was met with distaste from some who were unhappy about her command to fly an unofficial version of the U.S. flag in the nation’s capital city.
Former U.S. Air Force officer Eric Hines, for example, called it “deliberately insulting” and “distinctly un-American.”
The United States flag’s 50 stars represent the country’s 50 states. Hawaii was the last state to join the union, admitted on August 21, 1959. The following year, the 50-star flag — designed by a high school student named Bob Heft — became the nation’s official flag under President Eisenhower on July 4, 1960.
Recognition of the District of Columbia as a state remains a controversial issue among lawmakers. Although D.C. has a population larger than Wyoming and Vermont, the district does not have a voting member in the House nor a representative in the Senate.
Nevertheless, D.C. residents pay more federal taxes than any state and more per capita than citizens in 21 other states, according to the Statistics of Income (SOI) IRS Data Book.
In April, the Democrat-majority House narrowly passed the Washington, D.C. Admission Act (216–208), which would establish D.C. statehood, granting its residents full Congress representation. The Senate received the bill, H.R. 51, on April 22 for consideration; no date is known for when the Senate will vote on it.
First and foremost, constitutionalists insist that Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18 of the Constitution requires that Congress create a constitutional amendment to establish D.C. statehood.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) cited the rule in 2021, per The Washington Post: “If Congress wants to make D.C. a state, it should propose a constitutional amendment … and let the people of America vote.”
Secondly, opponents claim Democrats’ motive for establishing D.C. statehood is a partisan “scheme” to add two liberal seats to the Senate, increasing their Democrat majority.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) characterizes it as a “power grab attempt” by the party.
In a Monday statement, Mayor Bowser indicated she also supports D.C. statehood because the district’s citizens are not permitted a say in important issues, referencing the matters of abortion and gun laws in particular.
“D.C.’s disenfranchisement impacts not just Americans living in D.C., but Americans nationwide who share our values,” she explained.
The Senate has the power “to do the right thing, embrace representation, and move D.C. statehood forward to the president’s desk,” Bowser asserted, as reported by MSN.
The U.S.’s first national flag design, representing the 13 original colonies, was adopted on June 14, 1777, by the 2nd Continental Congress.
The 13 horizontal, alternating red and white stripes symbolized the colonies and their unity. They accompanied 13 stars on a blue field, each representing a colony. The circle of white stars in totality represented “a new constellation — the newly independent country’s hope for its future,” according to Flags USA.