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jenna's avatar

What do you think of the Serve America Act that Obama signed today?

Asked by jenna (72points) April 21st, 2009

1388 vs the new 1444, read here: Item 6 section 4. (Please read comments added to bill – they give good insight.)

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28 Answers

ubersiren's avatar

It’s like volunteering… but you’re paying for it.

aidje's avatar

The “mandatory service requirement” part makes me nervous. Mandatory volunteerism is an oxymoron.

augustlan's avatar

It seems to be saying they would study whether or not such an idea is a good one.

In my state, students are already required to perform x number of hours of community service before they can graduate from high school.

fireside's avatar

Big deal. All they are doing is stating what they should explore.
I would much rather have a government that explores all possibilities than one which doesn’t.

It’s not like this is a mandate that was just signed into law. It is an establishment of a commission. People get all worked up over trivial things. But I guess that’s political psychology…

Distort and distract just to win an election.

Qingu's avatar

I have to say that the mandatory thing sets off alarm bells with me.

The idea behind it is good, but it should not be mandatory. It should be part of an incentive, like a public high school diploma.

lataylor's avatar

Ah, the the liberal movement meets nationalism.

Knotmyday's avatar

Looks like the rationale behind the commission is resolved in Section 2, (3).
Volunteerism should be incorporated into school curriculum. Isn’t school mandatory?
Much ado…

jenna's avatar

Here are some links:

Here is an excellent article.

Petition for HR 1444. It had no effect. Sadly.

and i quote,

“To those that are commenting saying “It’s not actually forcing anything, it’s just a study”. I say, what is the purpose of studying something so blatantly unconstitutional? If you’ve taken high school history you should be able to understand the 13th amendment. The representative sponsoring this steaming pile should be voted out of office ASAP.”

from the first link i posted.

fireside's avatar

Are you a political operative Jenna?

Here’s a link:

Calling on Americans to volunteer, President Barack Obama signed a $5.7 billion national service bill Tuesday that triples the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next eight years and expands ways for students to earn money for college.

“All that’s required on your part is a willingness to make a difference,” Obama said. “That’s the beauty of it; everybody can do it.”

AmeriCorps has seen a recent surge in applications, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the program.

In March, the organization received 17,038 online AmeriCorps applications, nearly double those received in the previous month and nearly triple the 6,770 received last March.

“It is not unlike the moment in 1960 when President Kennedy asked Americans, you know, to serve, but it is certainly going to engage millions more today,” Solomont said in a conference call arranged by the White House.

What a horrible person to offer money for college in exchange for service to this country.

Qingu's avatar

@fireside, I agree with you, in sentiment, but you have to admit the word “mandatory” is incredibly troublesome.

And I campaigned for Obama and shit.

jenna's avatar

There can be many good things written in a bill.. and only one horrible. That should be taken out. Most definitely.

fireside's avatar

@Qingu – how do you feel about the words “whether” and “could”

How many bills do you think contain strange proposals that never make it off the paper?
Do you really believe that any commission will find that mandatory requirements like that would pass muster?

This is just political gamesmanship to get people’s panties in a bunch over something that will never go anywhere. Is removing this word more important than actually passing the act which opens up opportunity for many young people who can’t afford college because their parents were laid off? Did Obama himself request that this word mandatory be included?

Qingu's avatar

I’m not saying it’s Obama’s fault that the word mandatory is in there, and I don’t think anything will come of it, but it’s sort of an odd inclusion and I certainly hope Obama’s supporters don’t support mandatory public service.

fireside's avatar

“And I campaigned for Obama and shit.”

So these 6 Representatives have introduced a bill that changes how you feel about Obama?

Qingu's avatar

Huh? No. I was just pointing out that I’m an Obama supporter who doesn’t like the wording in this bill.

fireside's avatar

Ok, wasn’t sure what you meant there.
Especially since I know how into slavery issues you are : P

I see it as something that would never be supported in any serious measure.
Wonder if the bipartisan committee will find that option viable when they look into it…

aidje's avatar

@augustlan and @fireside I understand that this bill does not establish a mandatory service requirement, but it makes me nervous that they’re even investigating such a possibility.

DREW_R's avatar

He can kiss my ass. I do enough for my community without him telling me to.

Judi's avatar

I don’t even mind mandatory. In Israel everyone is required to serve their country. In the US our “all volunteer” army is mostly made up of the poorest citizens. Do you think we would have gone into Iraq if everyone was required to give 2 years to their country? If the children of the rich and poor alike were put at risk?

Qingu's avatar

I’d prefer not to use Israel as a yardstick for what my country should be like.

And while I take your point about the war, I think the negatives of a draft outweigh the positives. Even the military doesn’t want to re-institute the draft because soldiers who volunteer tend to be more engaged and motivated. I also don’t know if we wouldn’t have gone into Iraq with the draft. We went into Vietnam with it, and after 9/11 a lot of people were achin’ to kill some Arabs.

aidje's avatar

@Judi Yes, I think we still would have gone into Iraq. The public-opinion backlash would have been worse, admittedly. And just for the record, I don’t like the poverty draft, either. I think you’re right about it being a problem. I don’t think that a full draft solves the problem, though.

fireside's avatar

Mandatory service to overcome civic challenges is nowhere near suggesting a draft.
Just wanted to point that out before somebody starts shouting about how Obama wants to reinstate the draft.

Impressionable young minds and all that..

aidje's avatar

@fireside What we’re discussing is a different type of draft. It’s still a draft, but you’re right in saying that it doesn’t imply a movement towards a military draft.

edit: Actually, it’s worth noting that military service would almost certainly count toward any sort of mandatory service requirement. So it’s not totally unrelated, especially given that the benefits available for the military would probably not be available in other sectors. Kind of like the way the poverty draft works, except that it would apply to everybody.

Judi's avatar

@fireside, Yeah, that’s not what I was saying, I was just saying that requiring citizens to give a little back to their country in the way of time is not really a bad idea, be it teaching, military or working on bridges.

fireside's avatar

@Judi – I completely agree. everyone wants to complain about the government and taxes, but nobody seems to feel as though they owe anything to this country. Service for the greater good s a noble thing that everyone should strive for rather than just trying to grab more for themselves.

DREW_R's avatar

@fireside Is service all ready served such as time in the military sufficient? I feel I have done part of my patriotic chore. The other part for me involves stading firm for the Constitution of our Founding Fathers as they ment it with out disregrding any of it. The Bill of Rights is to this day valid in my eyes as it was written.
I can understand mandating that those that haven’t served in the military to do volunteer work, to a point.

Judi's avatar

@DREW_R , Of Course service in the military is sufficient! It is a most sacrificial way to serve your country and should be honored. (I answered for @fireside )

DREW_R's avatar

@Judi Ok thanks. I did mine then. Of course I still do things for the elderly and disabled in my ares. I even grow their meds. ;)

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