Those of you who have been reading my journal for any length of time know that I sometimes rebut a different opinion. I have several readers who do not share my views, and I welcome and value the friendship of every one of them. Debate is one of the purposes of me writing this journal. I haven't said it since those of us who started on AOL got the big boot, but I have always welcomed liberal readers and encouraged them to comment whether they agree or not. I enjoy the debate as long as there are no personal attacks.
One of my regular readers, since my AOL days, is Ryan, THAT BAPTIST AINT RIGHT, left a comment in my entry OBAMAS YOUTH CORPS. Here is one of the points Ryan made:
" . . . the idea of a volunteer corps has been around since the Kennedy Era & has been espoused on & off for years. I remember it was seriously debated during the Reagan Era as a means to give high school students college credit much like the Peace Corps does."
The key word here is "volunteer". What President-elect Obama and Representative Emanuel want to do is anything but "volunteer". Their version is like the old joke of "getting volunteered" for something. This is just another step the government is trying to take that takes away one more freedom from parents. I have no problem at all with young people being a part of some volunteer or charitable organization. There are many, many young people, even in this day and time, that do so on their own - WITH THEIR PARENTS' APPROVAL! The young people and their parents have the freedom to choose. Under the proposed program, it would become mandatory, NO CHOICE. Does the government REALLY have the right to FORCE children to be a part of something with NO REGARD for the wishes of their parents? This is very dictatorial no matter how you slice it, no matter how "noble" the cause may be.
But there's an even bigger issue.
"To say this is anything like the Hitler Youth is a serious, serious stretch. That is more politics than reality."
The above isn't the part that is reminiscent of Nazi Germany. But I'll comment on this a little later. Ryan continued on:
". . . mandating it would be a bit much. The idea of voluntary service for college or high school credit is, I think, a great thing. Nothing makes more of a lasting impression than teens working in a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter. I & my family will be volunteering the weekend after Thanksgiving, in fact, at a local homeless shelter, something my teen & pre-teen look forward to every few months."
I agree wholeheartedly here. This is an experience that your children will never forget. They'll have the opportunity to see people with much, much greater problems than they have, and I think it will help them to keep things in their own lives in perspective. They will also enjoy the rewards of the experience more than they could have ever imagined otherwise. You did make my point here - as their parent, YOU have the choice to have your children participate. Under the Obama/Emanuel plan, you would have no choice. It would be forced by the government, and your children might not have the option as to where they wish to do their community service work. I don't know, I haven't seen anything about a mandated list of things they would be allowed to do, but it's possible.
The much larger issue here is another part of this program, which is Obama's civilian national defense force that, according to Obama, would be just as well-funded and just as strong as the U.S. military. Those between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five would be required to go through three months of "basic training." Both these programs are tied together, according to Mr. Emanuel's book, "The Plan: Big Ideas for America", where he said, that all Americans in this age group would "serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service."
First, this is a perfect opportunity for government indoctrination. Since it would be a requirement, recruits would be required to study and learn whatever the government put to them. Secondly, since we have the National Guard and the U.S. military, what possible use could there be for a "civilian national defense force?" I definitely wouldn't trust ANY government official with the answer to that one.
Anyone still believe there's nothing suspicious about all this, no possible harm, or loss of freedom that could come from this? I'll quote the main players in this. In an interview, Mr. Emanuel said this:
"Somewhere between the age of 18 to 25 you will do three months of training. You can do it at some point in your college time," he said. "There can be nothing wrong with all Americans having a joint, similar experience of what we call civil defense training or civil service."
Civil defense training? Defense against just what, Mr. Emanuel? The rest of us perhaps? And Mr. Emanuel went on in the same interview:
"There will be a body of citizens who are ready, capable and trained."
Again, Mr. Emanuel, ready for exactly what? This statement sure sounds like a paramilitary organization to me.
As Ryan put forth in his comment, is this a serious proposal? If it's not, then why did Obama say in a speech in Colorado that we "cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set" and we need a "civilian national security force that is just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded." Hear it for yourself:
To me, this is very, very dangerous ground. The creation of a government national defense force that is just as big, powerful, and well-funded as the military. In order to be "just as powerful", these people will not only have to have the training, but the EQUIPMENT. They must have the tanks, aircraft, firearms, electronic gear, and so on if it's going to be "just as powerful" as the military. So here is where it is not a very far stretch at all to compare it to Hitler's Youth Corps. Even if the "only" equipment they had were firearms, can you imagine this? I don't think we can, since we haven't had anything even remotely approaching this in our country.
People better oppose this, and oppose it now. Once this is put into place, it will be nearly impossible to dismantle it later. I think the best way to voice your opposition is through your Congressional representatives. For some of you, it will likely fall on deaf ears. But e-mail or write anyway. Let your voice be heard. Let them know you're out there. There is cause for great concern on the part of everyone. I'm not being an alarmist here although there are some that might think that. I do think that there is cause for alarm. It's just too close to history, and we simply don't need a civilian national security force for any legitimate purpose, and the cost would be staggering (side note here: we've all heard the accusations against the Bush administration for spending too much on the military - but it's OK if the Democrats want to spend billions on this little project? Hmmm . . .)
That's my rebuttal. Ryan, as always, thank you for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it!