Monday, November 20, 2006


National Service

Service to the nation is owed by everyone.

Congressman Charles Rangel is not one of my favorite legislators. However, he has championed a form of National Service for all young men and women, I presume after high school graduation and before college, with no exemptions to be allowed. There is merit in this, so long as the service tasks allowed are a form of military or police work, and not softie jobs of any sort.

Such a program should not be used as a dumping ground for the unemployed and unemployable, however. There should be serious training involved, and competence tests for the participants that are public records of success or failure. Anyone not performing well should be retained for extra time to correct their failures, thus trapping those who want to drag their feet into more service. On the other side of the coin, foot-draggers who want to stay around forever for a free lunch should find themselves in front of a courts martial.

The merits of National Service of this type are several fold: High school graduates would have an immediate job for a year or year-and-a-half; the training they receive could be of immense benefit to them in civilian occupations; the discipline they would be subjected to by the military or police would be of great value in shaping their character and their health; the nation would benefit by creating a vast pool of trained men and women in the event of war or catastrophes; the police would benefit from having what amounts to paid rookies; and the military could benefit by having a large pool of trained men to recruit for permanent positions in the all-volunteer armed forces.

I would support a program along these lines wholeheartedly.



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