I have drunk the Koolaid.
I'm so excited to see the change.gov site. Mandatory civil service, I expected. But this goes way beyond what I hoped. This could mean real participation in government. Activism - real activism but built into our government - mobilization of people who have the most time and energy, not through churches and charities but through an organized infrastructure for nationwide civil service.
The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. 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. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.
People will put in work they can be proud of. Rather than accepting help shamefully from "charity" everyone can be part of building communities and services. I think of the short but intense time I spent helping with Katrina relief in the Astrodome in Houston. And the moments when authority decreed and doled out, and the depression that caused, vs. the moments when people had the tools at hand, the resources, to organize themselves.
These volunteer corps will build structures where that work is respected, where it will lead to experience and self confidence and paying jobs for people.
I'm heartened by the Obama administration's apparent respect for people with disabilities, teenagers, and senior citizens.
Look at this. It gives me chills. I keep looking at it and crying with happiness. I believe it. Agenda: Plan to Empower Americans With Disabilities.
First, provide Americans with disabilities with the educational opportunities they need to succeed.
Second, end discrimination and promote equal opportunity.
Third, increase the employment rate of workers with disabilities.
And fourth, support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities
YES!!! Someone GETS IT.
I think of all the fantastic people I know online who are living with disabilities and who contribute so much to society with all their intense, hard work. Work that is not recognized as such. They don't need charity or a hand out they need decent health care and for their talents, knowledge, and work to be respected. This administration really could lay out paths for that to happen.
Look at the goodness of the change.gov site. It's savvy, it's well built, it was poised for launch. The organization of the Obama campaign convinced me deeply of this coming administration's competence &efficiency, & their ability to use technology with good common sense. That convinces me too.
Take the things that are GOOD about the military, the Army, and make a decent U.S. Civil Service Corps where service is respected, turn all that to the power to build rather than destroy. Making things better isn't the job of corrupt profit-based corporations or punitive institutions, or the prison-industrial complex, or religious-based "charity models" -- building and maintaining our country is the job of government, which is - or will be - everyone's job.