November 08, 2008
These days, Photoshop makes it easier to erase, but it's still not perfect.
I direct your attention, Gentle Reader, to change.gov, a fast rename of the original Obama campaign site. Now it appears to be an official statement on the process of transition, and the plans of the incoming administration. Let us not quibble over the use of the .gov domain for what is not an "official government agency," nor over the "Office of the President-Elect." Instead, let's visit the "America Serves" section.
Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free.
Sounds quite laudable, doesn't it? "encourage community service." Thing is, that's the second draft. Here's the original wording, emphasis is mine.
Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.
Now, drafting kids out of middle school and putting them to work is a separate topic unto itself, but suffice it to say, is not a good idea. Striking it out and saying "ok, that one isn't a good idea. How about volunteer instead?" would be a good approach.
Instead, President-elect Obama (or, rather, his team) erases it completely from the record. We never said any such thing! This is not a good way to build trust with the people you are supposed to lead.
Remember this proclivity to whitewash mistakes, and when your memory disagrees with "official history"...well, you'll have to decide who you trust more, won't you?
What do you expect? He's the candidate of "change"
Maybe he should be called the candidate of "quick change"
Posted by: thecomputerguy at November 18, 2008 05:47 PM (IzwS+)
Posted by: B at November 19, 2008 05:22 AM (BmSw7)
The differences are between 'encouragement' and 'requirement', and 'local' and 'national.'
Your local school has 40 hours of Community Service as a requirement to graduate. That's a local decision to make it part of the curriculum, and if you don't like it you have the choice of lobbying your School Board or enrolling your children in a different school. Service which will satisfy the requirement is determined by the local school, based on what is relevant to the local community.
A National Program which encourages community service is a slight contradiction of scale and therefore a bad precedent, but still it's just a Media Campaign. It's like "Just Say No" or "Only You Can Prevent Forsest Fires" or "Don't Drink and Drive." Maybe it's a good idea, or maybe it's bunk, but ultimately they're just suggestions, and implementation is left to the Individual's choice to self-regulate their behavior.
A National Program which Requires... is called 'a draft.' Call the Rose by any other name you want, and discuss all manner of irrelevancies about what the program will be used for, it doesn't change the basic fact: draft one of this proposal was no less than an attempt to grab hold of a large, available easily impressed and impressionable pool of labour who are already Required to serve twelve years of Public School Indoctrination, and make it a further Condition of Servitude that they Do The Bidding of The Federal Government's Office Of National Community Service. Services which satisfy the requirement are set, by definition, at the National level, to serve the National agenda, and are therefore going to be just as "locally relevant" as any other National Government Program, which is to say not at all. Or, from another perspective, they'll be just as "locally relevant" as Welfare -- which is exactly what this becomes when FedGov Resources (your tax dollars) are used to pay for the college tuition (Benefits Payout) of a People's Community Service Worker (Serf.) You also get all the complete beaurocracy of the Federal Governement (all authority, no individual accountability) emplaced between you, your community, and the "local community service" your children are required to perform. That beaurocracy is composed of many workers in their new entrenched Government jobs, whose paychecks must be funded by your tax dollars.
That was 'draft one', at any rate. Draft two is a compromise, in that it doens't have the initial 'requirement' at either level, but it still spends Federal Dollars at the college level, which will be enough to get the beaurocratic departments set up and thus the camel's nose is under the tent.
My (admittedly rambling) point here is that a local program for community service is a fantastic idea which gets the job done. A National Campaign to popularize local programs of community service is a fantastic idea which helps motivate more people locally, and gets the job done. As soon as it becomes a Federal Program (which is HAS to be if there will be Federal Benefits and/or Requirements) you lose all your 'local' benefit, and gain only Federal Waste.
Posted by: LWO at November 19, 2008 09:47 AM (h26op)
It's important to remember the FIRST things that get said...because those will track most closely with actual internalized beliefs. Much like when the teleprompter breaks or isn't there, and we get a gem about "redistribution of wealth."
Posted by: Douglas Oosting at November 19, 2008 10:29 AM (04Ay+)
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