Sunday, November 09, 2008

Shhh: Obama's plans for indentured servitude quietly dropped

Obama's new website, change.gov had initially presented his new plan for community service this way:

“Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.” Screen shot of the web page here. Require?

Indeed, prior to the election, the campaign website language made community service sound quite voluntary. After Obama was elected, this "requirement" language popped up. The language of requiring students to serve and the creation of a "Classroom Corps" sparked a surge of criticism from bloggers for bringing back memories of the much-publicized video of marching Obama youth and Obama's "civilian national security force," which the candidate said in July would be just as powerful and well-funded as the U.S. military. Just plain creepy. Anyway, the language was quickly removed, a tuition incentive was added, and softer language put in its place.

Perhaps someone let Obama know that indentured servitude is prohibited by the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure the requirement of community service was only if a student wanted to receive federal assistance for their education (Pell grant, student loan, etc.). Sounds like a great idea to me!

Anonymous said...

Actually, here's the quote that is still on the website. These are great ideas. As someone once said, "Country first!" Sounds like Obama is pushing exactly that.

"The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start."

What's not to like about these ideas? Long overdue I'd say.

Elizabeth Prata said...

the original quote said he would "require service." There was no tuition incentive attached. Only the statement the President would 'require' service.

The Constitution says that the President cannot require service.

The new quote deleted the requirement language to say "call on."

Voluntarily serving the community and the country is great. Requiring it is not.

That was the point of the post.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of requirement. Teach these kids some responsibility. And, no, there is nothing wrong with requiring service. After all, we have laws that absolutely require children MUST receive an education. Parents have even been jailed for not ensuring their children attend school or get some sort of education. Simply incorporate the service into the children's education (which is what the plan sounds like to me and rightly so) with adequate choices so that the children may perform service in their areas of interest. The children benefit, the education system benefits, the country benefits...a great plan with benefits for all. And the children learn a sense of responsibility to the community instead of just the responsibility to "me" and self-enrichment of myself (the biggest problem in the U.S. today). Also won't hurt to force them to turn off the TV and get out of the video game! This community service requirement is one Obama policy I fully support. There's some stuff over at the playground that could use some fixin'...that's just one project our young people can get to work on. Maybe they can rake the leaves in my yard, too. I may be warming up to this Obama fellow!

Elizabeth Prata said...

support required service all you want. The Constitution forbids it.

It is the job of the parents to teach responsibility. Not the government.

Christie said...

I'm not for "required" service but I am for using incentives to get people to serve.

But I don't read this as something sinister. In fact, that they put in "softer language" shows they are listening to the reaction from the people, which is great. It's about time politicians started listening to the very people that put them in power.

Anonymous said...

Many high schools in Maine require community service for graduation and I don't recall anyone calling that illegal .

Elizabeth Prata said...

it isn't if the graduates are getting credit for it and it is under the aegis of a curriculum that has been approved.

The president cannot require citizens to work for nothing for a period of time, as was Obama's initial proposal. That is called indentured servitude and it is prohibited by the Constitution uner the 13th Amendment

Amendment XIII

"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Pathfinder said...

Elizabeth,

Hold your ground here.....the new administration will continue to "test" the mainstream to see what they can and can't get away with...this is just one example.

Changing the wording when they realized there were people squalking doesn't mean they are listening to us for guidance....rather critiquing their moves to create less resistance but still moving toward the intended outcome.

When Obama was running he said they had a plan devised for our economic problems....then during his press conference he said he was getting his "crew" together to devise an economic plan....what happened to the one he claimed to have during the campain?

I believe his intent is to remove our freedoms and cause a need for us to "lean" on the government....socialism....at least they didn't reach the 60 seats otherwise there would be no checks and balances and thus freedom for them to do what ever they want.....crazy politicitians...they want all the power, all the control, all our money but no blame!

Christie said...

President Bush has done plenty during his eight year tenure to encroach upon or take away our rights as citizens. I don't see Obama going in that direction. Again, using incentives to get people to volunteer is good, but requiring such actions is not. This one comment I read on another blog sums up my feelings pretty well so I'm going to post it here:

"I just don't understand conservative thinking. While my conservative friends tell me their philosophy is based on reduced government, the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II administrations have brought us massive federalization of criminal legislation, massive state and federal spending on prisons, a stream of state and federal laws attempting to govern morality, geometrically expanded power of the executive, and military spending beyond imagination. As far as I can see, they've reduced government primarily in its highest and best use, as the tool we use to work together to be sure no citizen is starving, homeless, or without health care.

I often wish liberals and conservatives could have productive conversations about these issues, but it's hard to know how to begin when I can make no connection between conservative philosophy as it is explained and as it is practiced."

I hope you never feel as if I'm attacking you with the comments I leave. That surely is not my intent. :)

Elizabeth Prata said...

Hi Christie,

I always enjoy your comments. I appreciate your thoughts. I agree with you on Reagan, Bush1 and Bush 2. It is an issue now in the conservative party that we (as McCain said last night) we got ourselves kicked tot he woodshed, because we are not practicing what we preach. Conservatives have litle or no credibility when talking up this message when they voted for the bailout. And the other things you listed.

I have nothing else to say except that you are 100% right. And that this vote last week is an indictment against Republicans for those very reasons.

I didn't vote for Bush 1 or two. I usually vote for the more conservative, third party candidate. Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, Ross Perot, etc. from the Independent or Constitution Party, and at least in the primaries my guys and gals are accessible.

The debate rules, ballot access laws, and the election rules themselves over the years have increasingly tightened access for the independent candidates. Ross Perot was denied appearance in the '96 debates despite his string showing 4 years earlier. Ron Paul- despite being a 10-time Congressional winner in his district of Texas and had received phenomenal donations and internet following, was shut out completely from this election by the media.

When a society homogenizes to the extent the US has, you end up with candidates with little more difference than between their age or gender.