I wrote a few days ago about being our obligation as citizens (and Christians) to participate in our democracy. Agree and work toward compromise when possible, but fight tooth and toe nail on areas which are just plain wrong - morally or other wise.
Going over the President-Elect’s website there was an interesting section on public service which should be brought to light.
The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nationâ€™s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start. (empahsis added)
Is this the civilian force which Obama was referring to and brought so much ire to those of us who paid attention? Why was this notÂ dicussed during the campaign (that gets into a seperate discussion)?
It is one thing to offer incentives andÂ encourage people to give back to their communities. We do this all the time with doctors, and in some cases teachers or even local organizations such as Ozarks Harvesting Hope.
This, however, is different. Mandating our children to perform the sameÂ job(s) which convicted criminals face for punishment is both wrong headed and goes against the very principles of our nation.
We are individuals who are free to choose, not shackled by the constraints forced upon us by government like that of the former Soviet Union or communist China.
It is for those very reasons I hope Republicans will fight this proposal and fillibuster such a notion into nonexistance.
Update 11-8-2008: the website has been scrubbed of the text and now offers a more reasonable approach in trying to ecourage people into doing community service. Sweetness and light has the break down complete with screen shots and a note that the requirement may very well have been unconstitutional based on the 8th amendment. hrm.
Either way my guess was that the blogsphere buzz might be responsible for the reversal. I am simply glad that the requirement is gone.
It is one thing, and an admiral goal, to encourage people to become more involved in their community in what ever way they might want to.
It is a something else different when the government starts requiring people to force their kids into some kind of national service. That is wrong.
Update: 11-10-2008 - Looks like the whole site was scrubbed. The Washington Times has a piece on it.