A forceful, well-argued indictment of the anomalous political and constitutional status of Washington, D.C., by the editor of an alternative weekly, the D.C. Gazette, and activist in the capital's Statehood Party. Smith contends that for Washington's populace the ""stage set of the evening news"" is ""not the capital of the free world, but a colony"" whose monumental grandeur and gaudy livery hides its menial condition. Since everything in D.C., from licensing to the levying of taxes, requires the approval of the non-Washingtonians in Congress, the citizens of the city are grossly disadvantaged in their struggle to curb the expressways, high-risers and urban rehabilitation disasters which overwhelmingly benefit suburbanites, carpetbaggers and real-estate speculators. The people of the inner city, white and black, are systematically short-changed and have been since the days of George Washington. If granted self-determination, Smith feels that D.C. with its congenial mix of northern and southern lifestyles could be one of the nation's most progressive towns. He details the impressive efforts of activists to halt such unwanted ""improvements"" as the Three Sisters Bridge, and he argues that the lopsided emphasis on physical planning and a disregard of the natural ""eco-system of the city"" has divided D.C. along socioeconomic and racial lines. Of course, despite D.C.'s unique situation, the problems Smith sets forth exist in most large urban centers. But in D.C. they stand out in bold relief. An outstanding close-up of the decay of civil life inside a monument.