The next question in the 20SB debates comes from Vanessa Mason.
I saw in an article that Obama would like to strongly encourage community service in middle schools and high schools and give college students a tax break for contributing community service. I wanted to hear your thoughts on required community service. Thanks!
I would actually take this a step further. In nations like Israel, and to a lesser extent Brasil, there is a universal draft that requires people to commit to time spent in the military in service of the nation. Personally, I find the idea of a military draft to be a measure that should only be required in the most desperate of times, however, I find the idea of universal service a very appealing one.
I think that certain proactive rights, such as voting, holding office, attending post secondary school, and federal aid, should be earned, rather than handed out to everyone. Give back to the nation, and the nation shall give unto you.
I disagree with compulsory military service, as some people are not cut out for the battlefield and forcing them there can be disastrous. However, military service would be one way of satisfying the service requirement. Ideally, a program such as this would also offer a broad range of public jobs, from EMTs and Police Officers, to Bureaucrats, to construction. A wide range of options would not only allow for a wide range of choices, but would allow for all people to contribute in what manner they can. This would also give people valuable training and experience that could aid them in the future.
Taken to the next step, this program would also go a long way towards integrating the problems with immigration. If service guarantees citizenship, then all that is needed is for someone to report to this country, put in their time, and they can be assimilated into society.
Furthermore, it would instill a sense of camaraderie in a nation that, by dint of it's sheer size and ethnic diversity, often finds people having trouble making common ground between other citizens. All people, regardless of race, creed, or gender, would be able to point to their common service as a way to break the ice between themselves.
It's kind of a rough idea right now, but I think that Obama's idea is a good start.