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From time to time a pint-sized parcel of property dubbed District of Columbia is heard to agitate for statehood. Considering that its capital, Washington, which is of course also the capital of a whole nation/empire/allegedly Free World, would have the same city limits as the state would have state lines, were talking more city-state than state.
Still, it seems only inevitable that this odd-shaped shard of landscape will eventually snatch the status of tiniest state from the grip of Rhode Island, so perhaps a hank of history would be helpful here.
Columbia is named, oddly enough, after Cristoforo Colombo, an Italian explorer freelancing for Spain who never touched toe on United States soil. George Washington, after whom Columbia's only city is named, envisioned the district as a tidy diamond-shaped realm wrenched from Maryland and Virginia.
However, apparently believing "the government that governs least governs best," someone decided the area was bigger than the government of a free people needed and committed modern political heresy by returning Virginia's 39 square miles, leaving Columbia as a diamond with a chunk bitten out, making it difficult for second-graders to draw and color.
Thing is, Columbia has been pretending to stateness for years. The enclave already sports statelike trappings such as a flag, a motto and an official song.
Some see substantial problems with admitting this Lilliputian land into the union. First, theres the difficulty of adding another star to the already overcrowded field on the flag. Fifty-one is just such an awkward number. Maybe this remnant of real estate should be repatriated to Maryland and have done with it. Or perhaps it could be coupled with another contender, fifty-two being a better number, like Alaska and Hawaiis joint join-up in 1959.
Potential partners might be Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands or American Samoa. From a libertarian standpoint, the best candidate would be the US possession Wake Island. Since it has no permanent population, hence no one to represent, the tiny atoll would be unable to inflict yet more politicalcrats upon us pretending to public service while representing only themselves.
Second, the new state of Columbia needs a new flag. The current District standard, three red stars above two red bars, is based on the first presidents coat of arms. But this is supposed to be the state of Columbia, not the state of Washington. (Hint: we already have one of those.) The new flag of Columbia, like all flags, should embody the essence of the polity's soul. In this case, that would be coercion and taxbucks. For libertarians, then, a meaningful motif for the flag of the seat of empire would be a vertical mailed fist rising from a horizontal line of crooked dollar signs bleeding red.
But much more work awaits. Many states have, not just an official animal and official food and official fish and tree and insect and, in the case of Minnesota, an official muffin (no kidding, it's blueberry) but also an official reptile. The Texas state reptile, for example, is the "Texas horned lizard." Appropriately, Columbia's official state reptile could be the "Congressional horny lounge lizard."
Which immediately requires changing the official state flower. Currently it's the American Beauty Rose, which sounds too much like the name of a bikini-and-scholarship pageant contestant. It should be changed to reflect what today is the most frequently plucked flower in the District, the Under Aged Male Page.
Many states have an official state dinosaur or fossil. Alaska chose, as you might expect, the woolly mammoth. California, ever stylish, selected that La Brea Tar Pits favorite, smilodon fatalis, aka Pleistocene saber-toothed cat.
Columbia's state fossil should be the Twelveterm Slobber-toothed Senile Senatorsaurus.
Other official state things:
State food: Liberal Hardshelled Antigun Nut.
State animal: Duckabill Platitudepuss.
State fish: Largemouth Bloviating Taxsucker.
State gemstone: pearl-inlaid gold-plated diamond-encrusted lobbyist-gifted money clip.
And some alternatives relating to Columbian statehood:
1. Wait for the Libertarian Free State of New Hampshire to secede and replace it with Columbia. Still fifty stars in the flag. All problems solved.
2. Take the taxbucks already earmarked for erecting a wall along the Mexican border and wall off Washington instead. That way, the money-grabbing freedom-defacing folks would be locked away where they can do harm only to one another while productive workers will enter the economy unencumbered from the south.
We'll end up with a better class of citizen that way.
Still, if Columbia must become a state, let's at least endow it with an appropriate state motto:
Taxim uppa rectum.
(Originally published 15 September 2007)
Garry Reed's articles have appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, LP News and other print and online publications.
Copyright -- Garry Reed
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