Norton to Bring Oliver’s Statehood Lampoon to Congress Among Other Uses of the Priceless Satire
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said today that when Congress returns, she will host a briefing on District of Columbia statehood for Members of Congress and staff and the public featuring HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver D.C. statehood segment, which aired last night, as well as a statehood expert, after Oliver made the case for statehood by making fun of those who deny D.C. residents equal rights. The statehood expert will answer serious questions often posed about whether D.C. should have statehood. Norton said that some of her colleagues are featured in the HBO segment -- from a Member who opposed needle exchange despite such programs in his home state to another who compared D.C. residents to children to justify denying them equal rights.
“John Oliver has picked up where Stephen Colbert left off, when he regularly made fun of D.C.-- and me-- for not having the same rights as other Americans.” Norton said, “The difference is that Oliver did 17 straight minutes, missing no major right denied or rider imposed. In the process, he also managed to reveal widely unknown D.C. factoids, for example, that the city’s gross product exceeds that of 16 states and that HIV rates went straight up in D.C. after the needle exchange rider was imposed and right back down when it was eliminated.”
Statehood advocates have been frustrated by the widely held belief of most Americans that D.C. residents already have the same rights as others, despite constant congressional actions to deny home rule and equal rights. Norton said that statehood supporters now have the ammunition they could never have paid for to inform the public. All activists need now are the skilled social media experts among them to figure out the highest and best use of Oliver’s unsolicited gift of prize-worthy satire of the Congress for denying the citizens of their own capital their rights.