The Obligations and Rights of Citizenship
The District of Columbia's non-voting Delegate to the House of Representatives, Hon. Eleanor Holmes Norton, continues to seek voting representation on behalf of the taxpaying U.S. citizens who reside in our Nation's Capital.
Although it's not directly related to our topic, we certainly understand that the status quo is not acceptable and must be fixed. Congresswoman Norton's position on the War in Iraq is not relevant to our take on the issue, as she had no vote.
As Rep. Norton has frequently pointed out on her Congressional website, however, Citizens of the District of Columbia have served in our military and have been wounded or died fighting our nation's wars. [Her most recent event featured women in the D.C. National Guard.] We have just as frequently said that military service is an important - and even essential - element of citizenship.
That's why Marc Fisher's Washington Post column on Norton's unused Congressional nominations to West Point, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy and the Merchant Marine Academy was somewhat of a surprise. Service academies offer a high-quality college education - for free - in return for a five-year active-duty service obligation, probably followed by a few years in the reserves. Most Congressional offices are swamped with young patriots seeking to serve in this manner.
Eleanor Holmes Norton Norton could add essential credibility to her efforts to secure a D.C. Vote in Congress by encouraging the young people of her city, in both public and private high schools, to consider military service through an academy nomination. She should ask her strongest political supporters of her D.C. Vote initiative to take the lead. The highest possible number of Service Academy cadets - later, junior military officers - with no vote in the U.S. Congress would send a strong message to America to fix this problem.
It appears that Marc Fisher is wrong, in that there already is a Service Academies link on her Congressional Website. Let's hope Rep. Norton goes beyond one meeting with District of Columbia Iraq vets by encouraging qualified constituents to Be A Man [or Woman]! Serve!