May 23, 2007

He's Got it Right!

Unlike my bride, I am not a huge fan of presidential candidate John Edwards. I was particularly taken aback by his position that we should pay homage to veterans by withdrawing our troops from Iraq. An Associated Press story on May 22 quoted American Legion national commander Paul Morin saying that's as "inappropriate as a political bumper sticker on an Arlington headstone." He’s right. And while I am a veteran, I am not a member of the American Legion – but I think Morin's assessment is on target.

Nonetheless, on a related topic, I believe Edwards got something exactly right.The former North Carolina senator reportedly said we should all be "thinking about" some level of mandatory public service obligation, so that everybody in America has an opportunity to serve their country. This is an idea whose time is long overdue.

Rather than just "thinking" about it, I hope Edwards and other candidates will put their weight behind this noble concept. I'd like to see a two or three-year public service obligation for all able-bodied citizens. Their service could be in the military, the Peace Corps, or a similar domestic public service activity. The Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s was conceived for different purposes, but its impact was positive and lasting.

Universal public service is a good idea. Now we need to move it from a concept to a reality.


Anonymous said...

"... thinking about some level of mandatory public service obligation... ... everybody has an opportunity to serve..." Although I agree with the concept of public service, the statement by Mr. Miller is, at best, an oxymoron. How can "mandatory obligation be equated to opportunity to serve" in any context? The idea behind the concept of mandantory public service is that the rich and politically connected do not subject their sons and daughters to the risks that that the less affluent members of our society are asked to endure, namely war.
However, history has shown that this concept just doesn't work. a prime example, the jerk who now occupies the White House.

Anonymous said...

Actually, history has shown the concept DOES work, however imperfectly. The obligatory "rubbing of elbows" with persons of varying socio-economic backgrounds and cultures has been one of the past strengths of our military. And its benefits carried over into civilian society. Alas, our compartmentalization of cultures -- coupled with growing mistrust between groups (young/old; rich/poor; blacks/whites; etc.) -- only serves to further divide our peoples. Remember, that "Jerk" had a privileged father who as a Navy pilot in World War II was shot down in combat, but survived to become President. He served alongside conscripts, and I believe all who experience the kind of inter-dependence that such situations require is a good thing for all.