DC statehood kerfuffle: AOC trips and stumbles over slavery history

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Screen capture … Dem Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez … Credit: Fox Business

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is proving to the world she is clueless about American history.

On Thursday, AOC stepped in it deep with a head-scratching tweet making senseless claims aimed at building support for statehood for Washington, D.C.

“DC was the 1st territory in the United States to free the enslaved,” she claimed. “It’s where Black Americans fled the tyranny of slavery & towards greater freedom, to DC. Yet today it’s where 2nd class citizenship reigns and the right to vote is denied. It’s time to recognize DC statehood.”

In fact, according to the National Archives, the nation was embroiled in the Civil War before slavery in D.C. slavery was prohibited. “Slavery remained legal in the District until April 16, 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act abolishing slavery in the District,” wrote historian Damani Davis.

That was long after much of the nation outside of the South had passed laws ending legal standing for the ownership of slaves. Vermont was the first territory to abolish slavery in 1777. By 1804, every Northern state had similarly passed slavery abolition laws.

Critics were quick to point out these unequivocal facts to the socialist congresswoman, but instead of accepting the correction graciously, she replied with a shifty misdirection play, tweeting: “The right is pushing back on this. To clarify in 280 chars, DC was the first area where enslaved people were freed by the US government.”

Back to the original tweet, AOC also claimed that “2nd class citizenship reigns and the right to vote is denied” in D.C.

Washington residents elect their own mayor and City Council members. They also are permitted to vote in presidential elections, with the district casting votes in the Electoral College.

The clear, truthful reason for Democrats embracing the D.C. statehood issue is that voters in the district are overwhelmingly progressive. In August, the district’s Board of Elections reported that 76 percent of registered voters are Democrats and only 6 percent are Republicans.

If D.C. was a state, their elected Congressional representatives would be automatic additions to the left side of the aisle.

The most serious, logical proposals to grant statehood to Washington, D.C., involves folding the city into either the adjoining states of Virginia or Maryland. The district’s population of less than 700,000 does not justify the city becoming a standalone state, especially considering that there are at least 19 other U.S. cities that are larger, yet remain within their states’ greater boundaries.

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Victor Rantala

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