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Give the People the Right to Vote!
by Sweet Honey in the Rock

Sweet Honey In the Rock

(CHORUS)
No taxation
Without representation!
Two hundred years of exploitation
In the capital of this nation!

No representation!
In the capital of this nation
Two hundred years of exploitation
Give the people their right to vote!

Someone asked me, was it true?
The voting rights of the District were long overdue?
They couldn't believe it when I said, "yes"
And then I said, "you ain=t heard nothing yet"

We are based in Washington, DC
A truly diverse community
Almost six hundred thousand strong
Have been exploited much too long

Inadequate power over our own affairs
And national issues for which we care
No votes in Congress, the Senate, the House
No state delegation, no representation

We pledge allegiance, "my country tis of thee"
Fight in wars, pay taxes in this country
Provide work and services for the government
We get no vote, but our money is spent

You may wonder, how in the world can this be?
I thought we lived in a democracy
The US constitution gives equal protection
Check the 14th amendment to make this connection

CHORUS

In 1787 the US constitution was ratified
US Congress won the power to exclusively exercise
In all cases, legislation
Over the future capital of this nation

In 1790, selection of the District site began
Using a piece of Virginia and a piece of Maryland
Forming the District of Columbia, or Washington, DC
But the people kept on voting in their former states, you see

In 1800, Congress took control of DC
Ended representation for the whole community
In the history of this country you'll find the reason why
And even in a new millennium, they want this law to apply

In 1846, the portion of DC
From Virginia decided to retrocede
It was returned to the original state line
Alexandria and Arlington came after this time

In 1871, an elected delegate with no vote
Was created for the House of Representatives - no joke!
DC was given territorial government that year
Representation remained an issue, do you hear?

In 1874, financial troubles arise
The position of nonvoting delegate meets its demise
The territorial government that was given to DC
Was taken back by Congress at this point of history

In 1970, the House brings the position back
Years of civil rights activism brought pressure with no slack
A step in the right direction brought the people so much joy
And the man in this position, was Walter Faunteroy

In 1978, Congress finally said okay
To the DC Voting Rights Act, but not right away
If approved within seven years with no hesitation
DC would be granted full representation

In 1985, our hopes were really, really high
We knew that they should not let this bill die
All we needed was approval of thirty eight states
But only sixteen states would support our case

In 1993, the District made a giant step
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton worked hard to get
A DC Vote on the House floor, which Congress did approve
But when Republicans came to power, the decision was overruled

CHORUS

Now, I'm sure you are wondering what can be done?
There are at least four ways that this fight can be won
Some suggest we retrocede as a part of Maryland
Become a city or county in that state once again

Or a new law could pass with a Congressional vote
DC residents would be counted in the Maryland vote
For Federal elections, census taking - without retroceding back
This would leave our residency in tact

Or, Congress could pass another law for DC
Like they did in 1800 when they took over totally
For more than five hundred reasons they treat us like a state
And adding another reason, should not a problem create

This would give us two US Senate seats
And the census would determine the number of House seats
Preferably, DC would be the 51st state
We'd have a seat in the House and two in the Senate - it's not too late!!

Democracy is what we want!
Voting rights are what we need!
Tell your Congress person, it's time to take heed!

Democracy is what we want!
Voting rights are what we need!
Tell your Congress person, it's time to take heed!

CHORUS

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