No, the Continental Congress is not meeting in Philadelphia, but a phrase heavy with historical and political importance is current once again:
?No taxation without representation.?
Once hurled at King George III, now it is ubiquitous on District of Columbia license plates and if D.C. has its way, on 2009 quarters honoring the American seat of government.
And just like King George, the Mint is not amused.
On Feb. 25, the mayor and council forwarded three design concepts to the Mint, each of which contained the phrase ?taxation without representation,? a reference to the fact that the District of Columbia residents have no U.S. senator or voting congressional representative.
They do, however, have a mayor, Adrian Fenty, elected by the people, and a non-voting congressional delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.
?The new quarter will teach people across the country about our city and its history,? said Mayor Fenty Feb. 25. ?It?s my hope that those who don?t know about our disenfranchisement will soon learn about it when they?re paying a toll or buying a soda.?
The Mint?s official reaction occurred two days later. Its statement said, ?Although the United States Mint expresses no position on the merits of this issue, we have determined that the proposed inscription is clearly controversial and, therefore, inappropriate as an element of design for United States coinage.?
Under the Mint?s general guidelines, designs are no longer drawn but rather concepts are described in writing.
The three quarter narratives describe the ?Stars and Bars? of the District flag, derived from the Washington family crest some 600 years ago, astronomer and mathematician Benjamin Banneker and world-renowned musician Edward Kennedy ?Duke? Ellington.
The Mint will likely veto the flag, too. Its guidelines preclude the use of flags.