To Romney/Ryan: Ain't I an American?
||Monday, August 20, 2012
||Robert Vinson Brannum
When the Republican Party meets next week in national convention in Tampa, Florida to nominate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) for its presidential ticket in the 2012 presidential elections, there will be many speeches on what the Romney/Ryan team can and will do for America. However, the America envisioned by Romney/Ryan does not include me.
In all the speeches and sound bites to be spoken at the Republican National Committee (RNC) convention, it can be presumed not a word will be spoken in support of me as an American living in the District of Columbia.
The announced line-up of speakers at the Republican convention include high profile Republicans who will talk about the Republican Party's vision on jobs, taxes, the economy, health care, education, military strength, and protecting individual freedom, marriage, and the rights of the unborn. And they more than likely will denounce programs to help the poor, the middle class, women, and laws protecting the rights of all Americans.
And without a doubt, the voices expected to speak at next week's Republican National Committee convention will most assuredly be silent when it comes to least one issue important me as an American.
Sadly, throughout the presidential Republican primary contests Mr. Romney and now Mr. Ryan did not utter one word designed to seek my vote or my support as an American.
Moreover, not one journalist at CNN, CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, or a major national newspaper has posed a question to Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, or any of their surrogates reflecting who I am.
This silence says a lot about Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, and the Republican Party. In the eyes of Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan and the Republican Party I do not exist. They do not care about my views, my family, or my fellow Americans in the District of Columbia.
There will not be a face, an inspirational image, or philosophical precept at the RNC convention representing me.
Who am I? I am an American military veteran who happens to live in the District of Columbia. I am an American military veteran who does not have equal Congressional representation in the national legislature of the United States of America.
I find it somewhat ironic District of Columbia statehood advocates protested the possible omission of the word “statehood” from the platform of the Democratic National Committee, yet seem to be willing to give the Republican Party a pass on its blatant non- support of statehood for the District of Columbia and full representative equality for the approximately 33,139 American military veterans living in the District of Columbia.
When Mr. Romney spoke before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Mr. Romney was mute on the fundamental democracy rights of District of Columbia veterans. While President Obama supports DC statehood, he too, was silent on the issue before the VFW convention. However, it should be noted statehood for the District of Columbia has been a part of the Democratic National Committee platform.
The further irony is the VFW has also abandoned its member District of Columbia veterans. When it comes to supporting veterans in the District of Columbia and across America, President Obama has the winning edge.
As the RNC highlights its history about supporting Americans being "free from oppression" and supporting "freedom fighters", it is clear that history does not include advocating for democracy rights for veterans and other Americans in the District of Columbia.
Do Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, and the Republican Party really care if 617,996 Americans have jobs, good health care, quality public education for their children, or individual liberty if Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, and the Republican do not support their right to be fully represented in their national government?
Why do Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, and the Republican Party have no problem sending young District of Columbia Americans to fight for justice and democracy in wars and conflicts around the world, only to deny them complete rights of American citizenship and democracy when they return home?
According to a DC VOTE fact-sheet:
"More than 192,000 DC residents have fought serving America in times of war. Thousands of those men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for country," [the District of Columbia] "and thousands of others were wounded. Their service is particularly honorable as they have never had a vote in the U.S. Congress. They have no vote on homeland security, no vote on national security, no vote on whether America sends young men and women of DC to war, and no vote on benefits for veterans."
To Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, and Republican Party leadership, ain't I an American?