It's Friday, there's almost no one in the office and I feel like tossing some ideas to the wall & seeing what sticks. I have no idea what I am trying to do here, or if these are even fully fleshed out ideas, but I want to put them down on virtual paper to jog my thought process. Your polite indulgence is requested.
My distaste for Libertarianism (in almost any form) is no secret. At best, it's Republicans who want to smoke pot and at worst it's Randian "I've got mine, so screw you." I am definitely a tax & spend Liberal. I believe the country is crying out for a Newer Deal – massive investments in infrastructure, a rebirth of the CCC and the WPA. I was not a big Obama fan to begin with (and have become more and more disenchanted as things go along) but was mildly excited by his call for more infrastructure investment. Sadly, as is his wont, his efforts have been half-assed at best.
I was part of the first year of Americorps, an attempt to create a domestic Peace Corps. The program had some massive problems back then (not all of which have been addressed, and some of which have been addressed in disapointing ways) but what a charge it was to be a part of almost 2,000 young people working to better the Western Region (even if a select few were there as part of their parole agreements.) That was my first real taste of the power of community service, and it was government subsidized. After that, I had the priviledge of serving in Teach for America, where I taught in urban 9th ward New Orleans. Again, an Americorps program.
Now, many conservatives and libertarians argue programs like these have no place in our government. They are wrong. These programs (and other groups like the California Conservation Corps) represent a Mini Deal, taking young people (many from very poor or dangerous backgrounds) and putting them to work bettering the environment, upgrading America's infrastructure, and teaching those who are left behind.
As part of my time in Americorps, I was lucky enough to spend some time with some original CCC volunteers. I got to hear them tell stories about working in camps during the building of huge projects across the country. They were a part of a movement that transformed America. One of them gave me his old CCC hat, which I still count among my prized possessions. The spirit these men and women had is sorely needed in America today, and is sorely lacking.
There are a myriad of valuable and worthwhile community service opportunities out there (and I can tell you from very personal experience that your hours are almost certainly worth more to most charities than your dollars) that we should all be involved with. As the old Marian Wright Edelman quote goes "Service is the rent we pay for being."
To help pay that rent, and to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure the government should expand their community service programs. Someone in power needs to have the balls to spend the money to invest in our highways, our electrical grid and our cities because it's clear that the free market isn't.
Last 5 posts by Ezra
- Yogi Berra for Governor - December 7th, 2010
- BGGCon 2010 - Day 0 - December 6th, 2010
- Your Friday Afternoon is Happy to See the Name World B. Free - December 3rd, 2010
- Boardgamegeek Con - Year 2 - November 15th, 2010
- The Games We Played: Alexander Hamilton - AntiFederalist - November 12th, 2010