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Metics Should Not Vote

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Metics should not vote!

Fellow Assembly members, what does it mean to be an Athenian? I will quote our dear Lysias, he is by law a foreigner yet he "pays taxes, fights in the army contributes to the economy and celebrates festivals in Athens." He partakes in all the state obligations, as if he were a citizen. But do these acts prove his true loyalty to the nation? I have another question. Are Spartans Athenian citizens? Certainly not. But what if Spartans began to move to Athens, what if they fought alongside us in our army, paid taxes, and contributed to the economy--should we begin to grant them citizenship? Should we give the Spartans, the nation that murdered our friends, and attacked our families, a say in our government?

The Spartans will say they are fully Athenian, and that they are committed to this nation. They will claim that they are more likely to fight to the death for this nation, simply because they owe their freedom, rights, and allegiance to Athens. But how do we know that for sure? Lysias, I am sure you have the highest respect for this nation and I feel for you, but not everyone is as loyal as you are. If we were to grant you citizenship we would have to grant others citizenship as well.

On a final note, I have the utmost respect for the Metics. They are free to raise their families here in Athens, have a profession, make a living; all that is asked of them in return is to pay taxes and enlist in the military. No one is forcing them to stay in Athens, indeed proof that this is a satisfactory arrangement is that many Metics choose to continue living among us. Fellow citizens, allowing foreigners such as Lysias to vote would subject our country to an influx of questionable citizens. It would ultimately be harmful to our nation. As we are rebuilding Athens we must remain cautious, this is not the time for such a radical decision. Maybe we can revisit this amendment at a later point, when we know exactly where Athen's future lies.



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