Today, a stirring statue of Frederick Douglass, who rose from slavery to fight for the emancipation of slaves and stirred the conscience of a nation will be unveiled at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center’s Emancipation. The statue, the work of sculptor Steve Weitzman, was given by the city to Congress after residing for six years in the lobby of Judiciary Square.
The unveiling Wednesday—even though it involves the city and its residents and government representatives—appears to be a closed affair, courtesy of House Speaker John Boehner, who apparently has his hands full .
At a press conference this week on the statue, Boehner was asked by Fox 5 reporter and long-time statehood champion Mark Plotkin why D.C. residents hadn’t been invited. Boehner did not comment.
According to a Huffington Post story, Plotkin had reported that Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton had asked that the city’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners be invited, a request to which the Speaker had not replied.
This seems to us to be another example of the cavalier and disrespectful attitude of the powers that be in Congress on matters concerning the District of Columbia and its government and residents. Even a fragmentary memory of local and national history ought bring about the idea that such treatment is insulting to all of us who live in the city.
We’re not actually sure if Boehner even bothered to thank the city or anybody else. Most likely he did. After all, even Boehner couldn’t be that careless.