Reigniting The Meaning Of Citizenship Through National Service

It’s been a long time since a common rite of passage among our nation’s men was to put on a uniform and defend your nation, community, and family. Yet at a time of increasing hyperpolarization in our country, as well as the deteriorating state of our nation’s youth in mind, body, and soul, national military service may be an idea worth considering once again.

National service has been ever-present in our country’s history. From militias in the Revolutionary War era to the wartime drafts in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, to peacetime drafts through various parts of our nation’s past.

The legacy from those eras of conscription still remain in the form of the Selective Service system, which many of us remember being notified that we needed to register for upon reaching age 18.

The Selective Service system also has been the subject of debate in recent years, as many persons have considered whether women should register for it as well – such as during the 2016 Presidential election when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton called for such.

Among other republics and democracies in the world national service is relatively common, from the nations of Europe to Africa, from the Middle East to Asia to South America. Conscription began falling out of favor since the end of the Cold War, as the general state of worry over military conflict faded.

Yet in recent years conscription has made a comeback. French President Macron has been trying to reintroduce military conscription in order to “foster patriotism and heal social divisions.” Norway recently expanded its military conscription in 2016 to include women, as Sweden has now re-introduced conscription as well.

Perhaps the most noted military conscription program is that of Israel, which requires all men and women to serve about two years in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), with few exceptions. While brought about by military necessity, it has also cultivated an Israeli citizenry that has the character, grit, and sense of duty to keep their nation thriving.

It used to be that way in America, as serving in the military was a relatively common experience. In 1980, veterans totaled 18% of adults in the United States. In contrast, by 2016 that number had fallen to 7%.

At a time when our nation is reeling from divisions along seemingly every line possible, it is worth considering a common and shared experience as national service to reconnect our country together. The benefits are very clear in other nations, as despite often no overt military conflict conscription still provides a variety of security and social benefits to the country.

Undoubtedly the implementation of a conscription program, not seen in our nation for almost half a century, would be difficult initially. Not only have the times and culture changed, but so has the very nature of our armed forces.

Our military nowadays is an extremely high-tech organization and finding how to best utilize the massive manpower from our almost 330 million person nation would require careful delineation.

Furthermore, many of our nation’s youth, estimated currently at 71% of those between the ages of 17 and 24, are grossly unfit for military service. Creating a new conscript category and integrating them usefully into the nation’s military would be challenging, but given how seemingly every other nation is able to do it effectively we undoubtedly can find a way to as well.

The idea of national service would undoubtedly require a significant period of pilot programs and testing. The idea has been proposed frequently in the national discourse throughout the years and particularly during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. It is a big, nation-changing policy that certainly, if it gets further traction and consideration, would be a serious national debate.

National service is a very realistic program that could do a lot in solving many of our nation’s otherwise seemingly unsolvable problems, as well as reigniting reflection on the meaning of citizenry in a republic.

I think it is worth considering at our present time, as, although it seems a big change, nonetheless could revive our American spirit and heal our nation in an extraordinary way.

 

The post Reigniting The Meaning Of Citizenship Through National Service appeared first on The American Spectator.

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De Blasio Wants to Scrap Admissions Testing for Elite High Schools

Mayor de Blasio unveiled a plan Saturday to boost black and Latino enrollment at the city’s eight specialized high schools — and he wants to scrap admissions tests outright.

In an op-ed for education-news site Chalkbeat, de Blasio announced that 20 percent of seats at those eight schools would be reserved for low-income applicants.

Kids in the Department of Education’s Discovery Program who score just below the admissions cut-off would be given one of those saved seats, according to the plan.

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“The Specialized High School Admissions Test isn’t just flawed — it’s a roadblock to justice, progress and academic excellence,” he wrote. {snip}

“With these reforms, we expect our premier public high schools to start looking like New York City,” he wrote. “Approximately 45 percent of students would be Latino or black.”

Under the current system, Asian kids predominate at the city’s top high schools. They make up 74 percent of the population at Stuyvesant, 66 percent at Bronx Science and 61 percent at Brooklyn Tech. At Queens HS for Science at York College, 82 percent are Asian.

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De Blasio has attributed racial disparities to the accessibility of test-prep classes and tutors to economically advantaged families.

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But Brooklyn Tech Alumni President Larry Cary has said, “The solution isn’t to kill the test. It’s to improve the quality of education offered in African-American and Latino communities.”

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At least 60 percent of kids at three of the specialized schools are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, according to DOE data.

The post De Blasio Wants to Scrap Admissions Testing for Elite High Schools appeared first on American Renaissance.

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Leaders Stunned By Sudden Passing Of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

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Instead Of Earning Millions In Hollywood, He Has Saved Over 6000 Young Girls’ Lives

Ashton Kutcher may have stepped back from the Hollywood spotlight for a bit, but he’s making a huge comeback… as a humanitarian, among other things. Some famous folks use their celebrity status and visibility to bring light to issues that need attention and, in this case, Ashton has really done something amazing. Ashton has a successful acting career, as well as being an investor in successful companies, like Airbnb, Spotify and Uber.

It’s his involvement in the anti-human trafficking effort that should get all of the attention, however.

In this 2016 interview, Ashton talked to the Today show about his Netflix series The Ranch, but there was also discussion of the organization he founded with his ex-wife Demi Moore in 2008.

The organization, called Thorn, has the following goal: “to build technology to defend children from sexual abuse.” In 2015, Thorn reported that 75 percent of child sex trafficking survivors surveyed noted they were eventually “sold” online.

Asia, a survivor who talked to Thorn during a 2015 study, explained: “People are posted and sold online multiple times a day. As far as the ad that was posted up [for me], there was a girl who eerily looked like me… just [like] you can go find a car, there was a picture, and a description, and a price.”

Ashton explained: “Basically, the purchase and commerce for human trafficking is happening online, just like everything else now, and so we’re building digital tools to fight back against it.”

Armed with this information, Ashton noted that Thorn “built a tool to help law enforcement prioritize their caseload and recover victims and find traffickers.” He added: “And we’ve found and identified and recovered over 6,000 trafficking victims this year. And we’ve found, identified, and recovered 2,000 traffickers.”

The organization’s website explains:

“We partner across the tech industry, government and NGOs and leverage technology to combat predatory behavior, rescue victims, and protect vulnerable children.

The site also lists 20 members of what it calls The Thorn Technology Task Force, comprised of technology companies that lend their knowledge, time and resources to the work that we do.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Adobe are listed among the names who are helping Thorn’s cause.”

The organization’s work doesn’t end, however, as Ashton noted: “Our next battle, my next commitment… I’m going to make a pledge that I’m going to eliminate child pornography from the internet.”

Kutcher testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February 2017, where he gave a speech about modern day slavery, saying, in part:

“I’m here today to defend the right to pursue happiness. It’s a simple notion: ‘the right to pursue happiness.’ It’s bestowed upon all of us by our constitution. Every citizen of this country has the right to pursue it. And I believe that it is incumbent on us as citizens of this nation, as Americans, to bestow that right upon others, upon each other, and upon the rest of the world. But the right to pursue happiness for so many is stripped away — it’s raped, it’s abused, it’s taken by force, fraud, or coercion. It is sold for the momentary happiness of another.”

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Nicki Minaj Slammed For Cultural Appropriation As ‘Chun…

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Asian Cup 2019: UAE to have five training camps, to face Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly

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What’s New in Civic Tech: New Legislation in Connecticut Bolsters State’s Open Data Efforts

San Francisco Creates Data Homage to Mayor Ed Lee San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee passed away late last year while he was still holding office at the age of 65. Lee, who was San Francisco’s first Asian-American mayor, was a popular leader widely lauded for …

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Italian turmoil hits global markets, sending stocks plunging

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