National service can unite a nation

  • Article by: Michael Gerson , Washington Post
  • Updated: June 24, 2013 - 7:51 PM

Something about this moment is ripe for discussion of how young Americans can move beyond self.

  • 5
  • Comments

  • Results per page:
  • 1 - 5 of 5
pumiceJun. 24, 13 8:39 PM

From the article: "[A]t the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival last year, Gen. Stanley McChrystal offhandedly endorsed universal national service for young people graduating from high school or college, fulfilled in either a military or civilian setting." Conservative icons William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan supported the idea of national service long before 2012. "National service," [Buckley] argued, can "ever so slightly elevate us from the trough of self-concern and self-devotion," and then-Governor Reagan founded the California Conservation Corps which advertised: “Hard work, low pay, miserable conditions.”

Require all 18-year-olds to register with Selective Service, give them all recruiting information and let high school graduates have options: get a job, sign up for military service, or sign up for civilian service. College students would have an additional option: student deferment. Instead of 1% of the nation sacrificing, encourage all young people to sacrifice.

No unpaid internships, please. Minimum wage or military pay scale--whichever is more. Here's a timely example of need: Young people who are passionate about teaching but have no teaching license could serve as teaching assistants or teacher aides under the supervision of master teachers. No need to pay TFA a finder's fee or a training fee....

5
4
jd55604Jun. 24, 1311:40 PM

Sounds an awful lot like our former forced military draft system. No thank you. This is a nation founded upon individual liberty. The image of an army of adolescents working for the collective good does not fit into that ideal.

2
7
arspartzJun. 25, 1312:14 AM

Why not just send everyone off to work at the "People Farm"? Then they could all learn to be good little collectivists!

3
7
braxozJun. 25, 13 7:44 AM

I like the idea, However the people who would benefit from working around people they would not normally be around would have a similar attitude as Dick Cheney's toward the draft: ""I had other priorities in the 60's..." (When asked about his five deferments)

3
1
elind56Jun. 25, 1310:03 AM

No thanks. I pledge my allegiance to the flag which is but an easily recognizable symbol for the Constitution of the United States. My allegiance is not pledged to a government that wraps itself in that flag while taking every opportunity to undermine and subvert the very document it represents. A document the employees of that government pledged to uphold...apparently with their fingers crossed. These 'National Service Workers' would quickly become nothing but political pawns subject to the whims and fancies of politicians and bureaucrats alike.

3
5
  • 1 - 5 of 5

Comment on this story   |  

ADVERTISEMENT

  • about opinion

  • The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.

  • Submit a letter or commentary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT