Sunday, November 26, 2006


The Idea of National Service

Not your usual draft proposal!

The idea of National Service has been around forever. It was debated in Congress in the 50's to my knowledge, and probably much earlier. NS is not simply the old draft in modern terms, it is a true national effort that does include the military, but is not restricted to it. Many other forms of service are part of this concept, which I will list later, but all of these service tasks would have in common the following efforts:

1. Regular physical exercise,

2. Learning discipline, strict schedules, rules of behavior, etc.

3. Learning proper dress, grooming and hygiene,

4. Learning the English language as written and spoken,

5. Being taught Civics in the USA,

6. Taking a course on American history in a positive manner, not bent on slander,

7. Learning manual skills of the office, especially typing,

8. Teamwork, and how to get along with others, politeness,

9. How to march; that is, military drill instruction and practice

10. How to handle a weapon or two, and how to shoot them well.

11. An opportunity to learn a foreign language if qualified.

12. Learning a trade or semi-profession useful in civil life.

The inductees would be tested for mental aptitude, physical health, attitudes towards service, a minimum of three options they would choose for service, and then would enter the first 11 levels of training as given above.

The options they would be given for service in (12) above, under strict supervision, might include:

1. Military

2. Police

3. Neighborhood Watches (under police supervision)

4. Peace Corps

5. Hospital trainees

6. Building Houses for the Poor

7. Firefighter assistants

8. Forrest Ranger Helpers

9. Environmental Cleanup Program

10. Border Patrol

11. Emergency Rescue and Ambulance services

12. Flood and Disaster Work

13. Elder Care Assistants

14. Road Crews and Street Sweepers

15. Sanitation Workers

16. County and City Maintenance Services

17. Other tasks not thought of yet.

The age of these inductees would be from about 17 through 21, which in the next few years will probably top 30 to 40 million people or so! The big question is whether the tasks identified so far, or new tasks to be found, would be able to absorb 40 million young people, or a good proportion of them in useful and well-supervised work.

A possible solution would be to absorb only 19-year-olds for the year-and-a-half to two-year service time, thus bringing down the total to perhaps 16 million 19 and 20-year olds, or so, over two years at the peak, which is still an extremely daunting number.

This needs a lot of thought to make it practical and useful! It is a political disaster, particularly when many youngsters (and their parents) do not want to serve at all. However, it would benefit everyone.



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