Monday, November 10, 2008

Rahm Emanuel: Compulsory Service For All Americans 18 - 25

Barack Obama's new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is the coauthor of a book that calls for, among other things, compulsory national service for all Americans ages 18 to 25.

The following quotes are from pages 61-62 of the book Emanuel coauthored in 2006 entitled "The Plan: Big Ideas for America":

It's time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under this plan, All Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service. ...

Here's how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They'll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community, where they will learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we're hit by a natural disaster. These young people will be available to address their communities' most pressing needs.

The frightening thing is that it looks like some of Emanuel's ideas are already being implemented in the new administration.

The official website of President-Elect Obama,, originally announced that Obama would soon "require" that all students in middle school all the way through college would be forced to participate in community service programs.

Fortunately, the internet exploded with outrage, and the website's wording was quickly softened.

But before the change, this is what Obama's website said about this program: "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."

I think that we have had enough of "Patriot acts" and I know that most Americans do not want to be part of any kind of a draft.

How many of you would willingly submit to mandatory national service under either George W. Bush or Barack Obama?

1 comment:

  1. Hi. I come from Ontario, in a suburb of Toronto. Over here, all high-schoolers are required to volunteer for a minimum of 40 hours as a requirement to get their high-school diploma.

    I want to give the people here a picture of what this is actually like. Lots of kids thought of it as a chore, or just one more thing to add to their already packed schedules. Other people, who were involved in at least one extracurricular, and who had a more balanced life, saw it as an opportunity to get one more achievement to add to one's transcript to send to the universities.

    I personally volunteered at a local library after school. I also helped create the set for a play, something that I would have never had the experience to do otherwise. Other people volunteered at a local retirement home, or the hospital, or a vet's office.

    Before, I saw "community-service" as something minor criminal offenders were forced to do, in order to pay back society for their crimes. Now I see it as something potentially noble: a way to repay one's community for everything that it has done to help and guide oneself over the years. A way of repaying kindness with kindness.

    I think that, in view of the fact that we already have such a program anyway, and that there hasn't been a "National Draft" or "National Military Service" initiative piggybacked off of these programs, that you Americans don't have anything to fear.

    I know that you Americans are distrustful of government telling citizens what to do, but from my perspective, all our program has done is help create a more engaged citizenry.

    Plus, you left out that the 100 hours per year in College would “receive a fully-refundable tax credit of $4,000 for their education.” That’s $40 dollars an hour for volunteering for 100 hours a year. I would jump at the chance of making $4000 dollars for 100 hours of work. With the economy in the toilet, all I can get are minimum-wage service jobs. I would love to be able to pay for part of my education that way.

    Here’s the original link: