Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Power of Civic Service

Imagine if we had a systematic volunteer response to disasters across the nation. This would save time and especially money. Such civic service need not be restricted to times of disaster, but could perhaps be applied more broadly to boost community morale, national patriotism, and both our states and nation's pocketbooks. What say you? (thumbs up if you read that in your head as Aragorn to the dead Men of the Mountains in LOTR: Return of the King).

Of course the impracticalities of such a venture are many--what if such volunteerism takes away people's jobs? While some are all for the privatization of some government programs (like the postal service) for instance, the same arguments against such privatization may apply to volunteerism. What if we allow privatization of those programs that can be reasonably expected to succeed and consider soliciting volunteers for other sorts of work. In an economy where 8.6% (last I checked) are unemployed, however, I wouldn't necessarily encourage volunteerism on the part of the unemployed. But who knows--perhaps it would provide another venue for networking--a way of bringing people together that normally wouldn't socialize in the same circles--as well as the opportunity, perhaps, to gain practical experience for a future workplace.

All in all, I think that JFK's quote remains relevant--though is often only manifest unidirectionally: we ask always what our country can do for us, but not often enough what we can do for our country. I think that at a grassroots level, all can and need to give back somehow. If we all did, it would be insane. In a good way.

And that concludes my entirely uninformed, but well-meaning, ramblings. Now we'll all get back to our daily grind in a world where little of our fundamental political and social constructs actually changes. ;)

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