Since World War Two, our military, particularly the Army, has been the largest employer and trainer of our young people. That social and economic contribution to our country will now be severely reduced. Our military, after ten years of war, a broken and worn-out force with declining budgets, must find a way to maintain its funding to the military structure of our Corporate Empire. The Chief of Staff of the Army at the American Enterprise Institute, the Empire’s leading “think tank” and institutional home of Mr. Charles Murray, announced and discussed the military’s plans. The military has determined that the All Voluntary Force, supported since the Administration of Ronald Reagan, by a comprehensive social welfare program, of pay and allowances, is now too expensive to maintain. The number of troops and their pay must be reduced. Thousands of young people of your generation will be denied the opportunity to serve in our military. The military, never the less, wants to have a cadre of young people committed and mentally prepared to enter the military without the expense of paying them. Is a system of National Service the answer for our military?
Ideas of National Service were not present during the last drawdown of the size of the military. That occurred at the end of the Cold War. The reduction of the training and socialization opportunities for young people during the nineties was predictable and avoidable. Then, new prisons were the way the Empire dealt with and exploited excess young “manpower,” both as guards and inmates. Is this information valuable to you as you think about the possibility of National Service in your future? Are there ways to think about the concept of national service other than the proposals that came from the Aspen Institute?
Our challenge in trying to convey to you the value of “civics” is to demonstrate how events and issues educate us and to see how they are connected. If we succeed we may enable you as our newest citizens to make the best decisions for the country. We started by considering the “Civics” of National Service. We then turned to the injustice of Trayvon’s death. We expanded the discussion to include all “Trayvons” and the young white people of “Fishtown.” And that brings us back to all young Americans, the subject of National Service.
In 2008, as Mr. Obama was fighting for the Presidency, some of his supporters believed young Americans had the intelligence and interest to contribute to solving some of our common problems. Three of those problems concerned: (1) the collapse of our systems protecting our food, water, health and safety; (2) our sense of insecurity and fear abroad and at home, and; (3) the betrayal of our obligation to our veterans. Each of these problems concerns you and your future. And each is the result of policies advocated and successfully implemented to benefit our Corporate Empire.
Can you think of some objectives of national service that serve the common needs of you and your classmates, and also our veterans, rather than the objectives of our Corporate Empire?
For Tuesday, let’s ask ourselves these questions that frame some goals of national service for the common good.
1. How do we maximize the physical security of the American people in their persons, homes and communities?
2. How do we maximize the dedication, sacrifice, knowledge and experience of the Veterans of the Iraq and Afghan Wars?
3. How do we maximize the readiness of young men and women to enter the Active Duty United States Military, physically, mentally and ethically?