Citizenship as Standing vs. Participatory

In many countries there is a mandatory military service. However in countries without a mandatory military service, you may say that volunteering for service is an act of devotion, patriotism to the country. They may in fact be participating in citizenship by actively taking a role in the countries future. Their goal may or may not be political but ends with a result in the betterment of the community and deserve to vote on matters that pertain to their financial success.

All military service members receive a wage and their employment serves to better the community, but what about members of the service that are not always working. Each military contract involves a reserve aspect if you do not renew. This is to ensure that in times of war the country can call on those people no longer serving an active stint to come forward and act/ participate in the effort.

This also explains the reserves for each branch or the Army National Guard (weekend warriors). The Army National Guard is only paid on the weekends they work (typically one a month) and depending on rank it is barely sufficient to pay for the gas to drive there. It is intended to be supplemented by another choice of employment to provide for one’s family or self. Is this sufficient to Shklar for earning?

The military in itself does not allow much independence that comes with earning. Most do not choose the clothes they wear or where they live. Assignments for housing are based on duty station, In recent years one has gained the choice of taking a housing allowance to live off base or taken what is given to him on the base. This means houses are assigned usually on number of inhabitants and rank. Therefore someone who does not make enough to support themselves and the guard is the only employment available, does not reap the benefit of independence that comes with earning a wage. Are they considered a citizen only on the weekends in which they spend their times as warriors?

I feel that a military service should entitle someone to citizenship and that citizenship itself should not be taken away once it is earned. Many veterans fill the homeless shelters of America and cannot find work, since the only training they have received is not of much use to civilian occupations. Should they, reserve forces, National Guard members and unemployed veterans, be stripped of their citizenship in Shklar’s model?

I feel that with the inactive population today, a certain level of commitment by people on the outside, their acts of desire or patriotism to this country should grant them citizenship. Douglas was so active in the betterment of the United States that he was respected among political elites, but could not vote for the various subjects that would involve his freedom.

I feel that Shklar is wrong in the sense that having the vote is enough and that voting is unimportant to framework of citizenship. Without exercising that right, in this flexible barrier of who is out and who is in, that right can be taken from you at any moment in her model. Leaving you without the privilege and independence you may be accustomed to by earning a living.

A participatory model isn’t perfect but it allows the people who care and invest their interests back into the community an opportunity to fight for what they want and deserve.

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