Obama’s Mandatory Service Proposal
First, let me lay out a couple things. I have no problem with giving back to our country. I am completely for supporting our country, for volunteering in the community, and for sacrificing my time for the betterment of our society and I encourage others to do so as well.
But the problem with Obama’s mandatory service proposal is that it is exactly that: mandatory. The 13th amendment clearly states:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
It is unconstitutional to require mandatory service from anybody in the United States. A lot of people think this is a good idea because it would be good for the citizens (primarily the youth) of America to learn what it’s like to give back through hard work. No argument there. Many people think this is a good idea because it would bring a great deal of comfort knowing that everyone would be trained on how to react after natural disasters or
during national emergencies. Again, I agree completely. This is a great idea except for one thing: it is required. That makes it unconstitutional, even though it is a good idea.
One obvious fact is that all of this training and community service Obama is talking about implementing is already available to everybody! That is one of the great things about this country- we have the choice to join the National Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or a local community service program. Anybody can volunteer their time in the community or serve their country if they so choose. But they are not forced to do anything.
This ideology offers America a small taste of socialism. I have seen the effects of a socialist country firsthand, and in these countries this type of thing would be very normal. Fortunately for you and me, the United States is not a socialist country. In fact, the basic principles on which America was founded completely contradict the tenets and philosophy that form the basis of socialism.
Something that is required can not be called a volunteer based program. And if any institution involves involuntary servitude, it would be unconstitutional, whether the proposed outcomes were intended to be positive and good, like this one, or if the results were abhorrent and unfair, such as slavery. I am not trying to diminish that blighted period of American history- slavery was a dehumanizing institution that I would never wish upon any race, people, or generation of any time. However, in view of the 13th Amendment, both slavery and any non-punitive mandatory community service are unconstitutional and that is why I can be nothing but opposed to it.