Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
“Having Iranian and Iraqi parents, I grew up in a really political house. And yes, I also have heard my share of Axis of Evil jokes, too. Growing up, my parents were always watching and talking about the news. From a young age, I was encouraged to be political and think about what this country meant to me and my family.
“When I got older, I wanted to get more involved in politics, so I started interning on the Hill. I spent time in the offices of Representative Holmes Norton from D.C. and Representative John Conyers from Michigan. As will not be a surprise to hear, interning is not always the most interesting work. I definitely did my fair share of faxing and getting people soup, but I also got to write floor statements and take on some other important issues, like health care.
“What became pretty obvious to me after both experiences was how important the lack of a vote is for D.C. In Representative Holmes Norton’s office, I felt like most of the work that was being done was trying to get us a vote. She was involved in other issues, but it was amazing to me how much time and effort is still spent trying to convince people that D.C. residents are entitled to having fair representation in Congress. She has been there since 1990 and continues to fight the same fight. I saw how Representative Conyers, who was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, could spend his time working on things like health care and didn’t have to spend even a moment thinking about whether his district was being fairly represented in Congress or not.
“I don’t believe that people in other states should be telling us what to do. You know, we have a population bigger than Wyoming, but we are still at the mercy of others, including those from Wyoming. I was always optimistic about D.C. voting rights until I went to spend time on the Hill. After talking with people who had been working on this for so long, many of them seem so disillusioned. There are just so many politics behind the issues, and it still seems so impossible. I sometimes joke that the D.C. voting issue is in the same category as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Even though people, myself included, can be so disillusioned by the issue, I still feel passionately that we need to keep working to get fair representation. When I graduate from college, I want to get more involved in D.C. politics and work to help us get a vote. I love this city and think it is so sad that we can’t do more for ourselves. Now, when I look, I can’t seem to find a light at the end of the tunnel on this issue, but I hope that there is a light out there somewhere.”