Saturday, September 29, 2012

DC Sacrifice, Blood & Lives, Merits DC Statehood

In recent weeks I have attended/taken part in/responded to a number of DC candidate forums and questionnaires.  One important question has been, "What would you do to promote DC Statehood if elected?"  First of all I will continue to work for Statehood whether I am elected or not.  However, I do have several thoughts/ideas on the whole issue.  One reason I have joined the DC Statehood Green Party is that we do not accept corporate financing and thus have no part in the recent electoral scandals and questions.  Therefore we can promote Statehood with clean hands and a pure heart throughout the country.

Thus, I encourage our voters to vote the DC Statehood Green Party ticket.  We will have 6 candidates printed on the November ballot.  Some may be tempted to vote for President Obama.  Last election he had 93% of the vote in DC.  Has this gained us anything in DC?  For those who rightfully fear a Romney administration, voting for Dr. Jill Stein in DC is not going to change the fact that President Obama will still get a majority of DC votes and our electoral votes.  However, if his count drops by 10 or 15% perhaps he will realize that we are disappointed that while living here full time he has done so little for our city or our Statehood quest.  Continuing to pay 100% federal taxes, while only electing 2 out of the 5 representatives we ought to have simply is not fair.

Second, it has come to my attention that Republicans have expressed an interest in having Puerto Rico, with potentially 5 Representatives and 2 Senators, become a state.  Although a majority of those elected might be Republicans, if we in DC were to enter as a state at the same time, the major political parties would probably be represented roughly in equal numbers.  Pairs of states entering the Union with different political views has been arranged several times in the past.  Since we lost the Utah redistricting pairing idea, this seems to be our next best strategy as DC is unlikely to win a supermajority of approvals by the 50 states in the near future.

On Sept. 24th I raised this idea at the DC for Democracy candidate forum when my competition for the "Shadow" Representative to Congress and I were questioned, which you can see at this link:
The chance to use this strategy for the moment depends on the results of the November 6th vote in Puerto Rico when they will decide if they want Statehood, Independence, or status quo.  I am considering making a fact finding trip there, where I have family already living, to make contacts for potential future joint action.   Unlike Rick Santorum, who says PR would have to make Spanish language secondary, rather than co-equal with English as it is now, I suspect that we in DC would honor their cultural diversity and language.

A third idea is to raise national awareness of the very real sacrifices in blood and lives that we in DC have made in our military.  This is also true for Puerto Ricans who have served bravely in the US military as well.  I propose that each Veteran's Day and Memorial Day we have a press conference/demonstration in front of the column with Washington DC carved on it at the World War II Memorial.  There is a large blank granite rectangular block holding a tall column.  We should prepare a poster the size of this rectangle.  Written on it should be:  DC soldiers DIED (              ), DC soldiers WOUNDED (              ), DC soldiers SERVED
(            ).  Supporters of Puerto Rican statehood could join us in doing the same.  Photographed against our memorial column this would be a powerful statement to send the nation.

The failure of candidate Romney to even mention our service people in his major Republican Convention address is especially indicative of his lack of concern for the common man.  You would think that after getting 6 draft waivers while selling Mormonism in France, he would recognize the need to make an extra effort with the group that has sacrificed so much more than the rest of us.  The fact that so many of the 47% that he says don't matter to him are service people or families, and often living in "red" states, shows just how ignorant and unconcerned he is with the economic condition of people in our country.  I have encountered several wonderful summaries of opinion regarding the Romney campaign that deserve quoting.  They are comments at a Huffington Post article titled,  Mitt Romney Ohio Ground Game: A Frantic Race to Catch Obama, by San Stein.
"redhead55, (1089 Fans)  Redhead informs me he quoted this from the blog:  Crooks and Liars.
"Introducing President Obama in Virginia Beach, retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), condemned Mitt Romney for failing to mention veterans or the military in his GOP convention speech.  The omission was all the more damning, Webb suggested, because Romney is of an age where he might have served in Vietnam but did not.

“If nothing else, at least mention some word of thanks and respect when a presidential candidate who is their generational peer makes a speech,” said Webb, a former Navy secretary and decorated Marine who served in Vietnam. Romney was exempted from the draft, first as a student and then as a missionary.  “This was a time when every American male was eligible to be drafted. People made choices,” Webb said. “Those among us who stepped forward to face the harsh unknowns did so with the belief that their service would be honored.”

Webb also tied in Romney’s much criticized remark that 47 percent of Americans believe they are “victims” who feel entitled to federal handouts, saying some of those benefits go to veterans.  “Those young Marines that I led have grown older now. All gave some. Some gave all. That’s not a culture of dependency,” he said. ”They paid. Some with their lives, some with their wounds, disabilities. Some with emotional scars. Some with lost opportunities. Not only did they pay, they are owed. They are owed.”  excerpt from C&L"
"RandomJ, (170 Fans)  This was reacting to a Romney volunteer, a Marine "trying to save his country."
A former Marine is for his presidential nominee NOT mentioning ONE word of the Afghanistan war, the LONGEST war in American HISTORY, and NOT saluting our brave American troops in his RNC coronation speech...?! A candidate running for president better mention THIS, and Sir Mittens DIDN'T!

"When you give a speech you don't go through a laundry list, you talk about the things that you think are important." –Mitt Romney, when asked about failing to mention the troops in his nomination speech at the Republican National Convention, Fox News interview (Sept. 7, 2012)  "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person." —Mitt Romney, speaking in 2007 about killing Osama bin Laden

A former Marine is for his presidential nominee NOT having a timetable to withdraw troops out of our endless war where American soldiers are getting shot and killed every week...?!  A former Marine is for his presidential nominee attempting to politicize the killings of American diplomats in Libya by falsely accusing President Obama of apologizing for America and getting the facts of the situation backwards...?!

A former Marine is for Republican lawmakers BLOCKING a just recent $1 billion dollar veterans jobs program putting 720,000 veterans who are unemployed across the nation back to work tending to the country's federal lands and bolstering local police and fire departments...?!  Way to go Marine..."
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I believe we have a powerful argument when we point out to the rest of the country, just how much our vote deprived citizens have sacrificed because they live in Washington, DC or Puerto Rico.  Taxation without Representation is just plain unAmerican.  Personal note:  My older son who participated 3 years in DC schools ROTC program still has 2 years to go before his 20 year retirement from Special Forces.  He has already served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his wife and two children will soon again be deprived of their husband/father for another 8 months.  He and his family are just one of many and all deserve the right to vote for Senators and Representatives.
[If any local historian has the figures for our WWII DC military service, please place the information or source in the Comments box.  Thanks, G. Lee Aikin]

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