Exclusive: Congress Contemplates Mandatory ‘Voluntary’ Service

by PAM MEISTER March 30, 2009
volunteer – noun
 
1. a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking.
 
2. a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.
 
3. Military. a person who enters the service voluntarily rather than through conscription or draft, esp. for special or temporary service rather than as a member of the regular or permanent army.
 
4. Law.
 
    a. a person whose actions are not founded on any legal obligation so to act.
 
    b. a person who intrudes into a matter that does not concern him or her, as a person
        who pays the debt of another where he or she is neither legally nor morally bound to
        do so and has no interest to protect in making the payment.
 
That’s the definition of “volunteer” at Dictionary.com. Would someone either send Congress the link or, if that’s too high tech for our hard-working representatives of the people, how about a printed copy of the Merriam-Webster dictionary? Because it seems the word “volunteer” has a different meaning on Capitol Hill.
 
A bill titled HR 1388: The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, otherwise known as the "GIVE Act," has already passed the House by a vote of 321-105. The legislation would fund volunteer organizations, and would also recruit additional participants in AmeriCorps, as well as create new government volunteer organizations including a Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps, Veterans Service Corps, and an expanded National Civilian Community Corps for disaster relief and energy conservation. Michelle Malkin has much more.
 
It’s bad enough that more government money – which is, in reality, OUR money – will be going toward what Malkin rightly terms “creating make-work, permanent bureaucracies, and left-wing slush funds.” Nothing less should be expected when liberals are in power – they just love spending other people’s money. But there was something else in the original bill that should give us pause (emphasis mine):
 
(6) Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.
 
This wording was stripped out of the original bill before being sent to the Senate, but as the DC Examiner notes, “The section could be restored during the Senate-House conference committee meeting. A new, separate bill containing that language has since been introduced in the House.” The GIVE Act has since passed in the Senate, 79-19.
 
The door has officially been opened. And once government opens a door, it’s notoriously difficult to close. Notice too, that this “mandatory service requirement,” should it magically reappear, would “strengthen the social fabric of the Nation” by “bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.” In other words, busing for the 21st century. We’re being Balkanized with the liberal multicultural agenda (celebrating diversity for its own sake rather than celebrating what we all have in common), so we now need a “mandatory service requirement” to bring us all together. Leave it to liberals to find a government cure to a disease they themselves are responsible for spreading.
 
During the great liberal awaking – otherwise known as the 1960s – young liberals rose up against the mandatory military draft during the Vietnam War. It’s my opinion that the Baby Boomers, the first truly coddled generation in America, cared less about what was happening in Vietnam than the fact that they could be sent overseas to fight with real guns. The idea of mandatory service to our nation was unpalatable to them then because they were the ones affected. Meanwhile, they literally spit upon those who answered the call to duty. Nice.
 
But now the flower children have grown up and are running the show. They’re now “the man” they’ve been sticking it to all of these years. And the lure of further controlling a new generation is just too much for them to resist. As long as they set the agenda, mandatory service is a grand idea.
The 13th Amendment to our Constitutionstates (emphasis mine):
 
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
 
Section 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
 
Isn’t a “mandatory service requirement” the same thing as “involuntary servitude?” Has the Constitution been reduced to (to quote a very important person) “just words?”
 
Pam Meister is the editor of FamilySecurityMatters.org.

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