And Democrat’s were up in arms when BushCo. tried similar notions.
In his speech at a University of Colorado campus, he pledged that enhanced public service and active citizenship would be a central cause of his presidency.
“We will ask Americans to serve,” the Illinois Democrat said. “We will create new opportunities for Americans to serve.”
“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set,” he said Wednesday. “We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”
He said he would make federal assistance conditional on school districts establishing service programs and set the goal of 50 hours of service a year for middle school and high school students.
For college students, Obama would set the goal at 100 hours of service a year and create a $4,000 annual tax credit for college students tied to that level of service.
More details + video:
The two controversial sentences (shown below in bold) were not in the transcript of Obama’s prepared remarks. Because the lines seem as if they were crafted ahead of time, I wonder whether the language was cut from an earlier draft, but Obama decided to deliver the sentences anyway.
Here is Obama on national service (the controversial passage starts at about 16:00; I have also corrected some slight errors in the transcriptions posted by other bloggers):
Sources above gathered from here.
More from his sermon:
“Finally, we need to integrate service into education, so that young Americans are called upon and prepared to be active citizens.
Just as we teach math and writing, arts and athletics, we need to teach young Americans to take citizenship seriously. Study after study shows that students who serve do better in school, are more likely to go to college, and more likely to maintain that service as adults. So when I’m President, I will set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year. This means that by the time you graduate college, you’ll have done 17 weeks of service.
We’ll reach this goal in several ways. At the middle and high school level, we’ll make federal assistance conditional on school districts developing service programs, and give schools resources to offer new service opportunities. At the community level, we’ll develop public-private partnerships so students can serve more outside the classroom.”
This all sounds an awful lot like Democrat Charlie Rangel’s annual call for a universal draft. And sure enough “Rangel Leads N.Y. Delegation in Endorsing Obama“.
Here’s the 2006 flavor:
H.R. 4752 [109th]: Universal National Service Act of 2006
To provide for the common defense by requiring all persons in the United States, including women, between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.
H. R. 393: Universal National Service Act of 2007