Saturday, March 28, 2009

Right Wingers Falsely Claim that GIVE Act Represents First Steps To “National Security Force,” Marxism

H.R. 1388, Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act, is being attacked by the right for including “disturbing language indicating young people will be forced to undertake mandatory national service programs as fears about President Barack Obama’s promised ‘civilian national security force’ intensify.”

This idea of a “promised ‘civilian national security force’” comes from this clip from last year’s campaign:

That obviously means that he wants to create some sort of SS for the homeland to keep the citizens in line, right? Therefore, this public service bill must be the first step in creating this homeland, secret police army seeing as it’s a “mandatory” service bill, right? At the very least, it’s a legal way to inject liberal thinking and policy into the minds of Americans, right?

Hardly.

First, it should come as no surprise that the quote was taken out of context. In the speech, Mr. Obama was discussing public service. He wanted to strengthen AmeriCorps, the domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps, as well as getting experts in volunteer positions, like vets helping vets and teachers helping at troubled schools. The point was that he wanted to create a core group of civilian volunteers that could help in situations where the military has normally been used, as in disaster relief. Instead of sending the military, at great expense, the country could have a core group of trained, equipped volunteers that could mobilize in an instant. If these volunteers are stationed at the community level, then it wouldn’t cost as much to spring into action and help the people in need. Don’t we all want to save money and curb Government spending?

To come to this conclusion, it would require some reading and knowledge of Google, which, obviously, is more difficult than <forward>, <send> which is much easier, as is reading the first paragraph of everything. I digress.

So, we come to the GIVE bill, which was bipartisan, passed easily in both the House and the Senate and will soon be signed into law, a rare feat these days.

This does not stop these right wing conspiracy theorists. Infowars.com states:

Under section 6104 of the bill, entitled “Duties,” in subsection B6, the legislation states that a commission will be set up to investigate, “Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.”

First, I don’t want to nit-pick, but a quick <ctrl>+<f> of the bill indicates that neither the quote or section 6104 exists. Let’s suppose it does. So what. They’re going to set up a commission to see if a “workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people” is possible. It is very possible that they cannot find a “workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement.” Hey, ultra-conservative, you win. You can now go find something else to fear. However, if they do find a solution, then WE ALL WIN because our children will grow up to be responsible citizens. They will have experience helping the elderly, the sick, and the homeless. They’ll clean parks and streets and generally make this a better country to live in. What’s wrong with that?

Second, Infowars.com follows with

Section 120 of the bill also discusses the “Youth Engagement Zone Program” and states that “service learning” will be “a mandatory part of the curriculum in all of the secondary schools served by the local educational agency.”

Section 120 does exist, as does this quote. Again, so what. They want to make a public service class mandatory in high school. Seriously, big deal. Kids will learn about helping the elderly, the sick, and the homeless as well as learning about caring for your neighborhood and community. What’s wrong with that?

I know what the problem is. These people are 1) pissed off that they lost the election 2) used to be in power and aren’t anymore 3) scared of change and 4) scared of the changes that are being proposed. Gone are the days where their leaders tell them familiar phrases like “go shopping” which requires no sacrifice on their part.

Frankly, these people need to get over themselves. This isn’t about them and their perceived attack on the American way of life. It’s about all of us and what this country could be if we all banded together. The problem is that they see that as a attempt to create a Marxist society. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Here is the President’s goal:

Obama and Biden will call on citizens of all ages to serve. They'll set a goal that all middle school and high school students engage in 50 hours of community service a year, and develop a plan for all college students who engage in 100 hours of community service to receive a fully-refundable tax credit of $4,000 for their education. Obama and Biden 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.

50 hours a year is less than an hour a week. As for the 100 hours for college students, yes, that is the all-American tax credit for service that goes toward the individual’s education. $4,000 for school in exchange for less than two hours of community service per week. Stronger country through service and stronger workforce through education.

They are right in one regard, this is a social upheaval. But it’s not an effort to create the American version of the USSR or Nazi Germany. It’s the idea that together, through volunteering free time, free time wasted getting fat in front of the television, we can make this country so much better.

It’s not Communist, it’s Christian.

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