As President Obama gave his 100th Day Press Conference, he reiterated our need for a smarter "New Foundation" in energy, finance, manufacturing, health care, education... This Smart New Foundation (SNF) requires expanding the skills and financial capacity of those who build the New Foundation.
Doubling the size of an undernourished from birth Peace Corps and tripling the size of AmeriCorps engages Americas in scout troop skirmishes, when huge armies of do-gooders are needed for battles against increasing world and domestic tragedies. Only by involving substantial numbers of Americans in intense, meaningful experiences, will America build a New Foundation that avoids dumb wars, wasteful consumption, and illogical public policies that burden future generations
Only by exposing more Americans to more meaningful learning, emanating from real world work and service, will enough Americans partake in and rekindle the fabled sense of community and accomplishment that too many Americans comfortably extol only from chairs, couches, and microphones. Only with substantial numbers of Americans -- millions not tens of thousands -- doing such hands on service and learning will enhanced and enlightened public policy understanding spread virally among our voting populace.
Involving significant numbers of Americans in world and domestic needs is the vaccination that can keep America, and the world by extension, strong enough to continue implementing public policies that enhance rather than destroy communities striving to live with dignity.
Your proposed New Foundation can revive the strengths that emanated from the New Deal and began growing again under the short-lived New Frontier. To do so, however, you must move, as FDR did, from smaller to bigger plans, from a small, conservative game to a fast breaking, big scoring team of American All Star Volunteers.
By implementing People's Lobby's American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals, your administration will score big with today's concerned and searching American populace. Just as importantly, however, fielding a robust AWSC involves millions of Americans in building a lasting SNF while helping present programs work more quickly.
Some analysts claim that every 80 or so years we must go through an economic maelstrom. Those periods coincide with decades of drift toward illogical, self-centered public policies stemming from an unawareness of world and domestic needs. Such visionless public policies usually involve America and others in costly wars that further spread the gap between rich and poor, while simultaneously increasing the ability of some to hoodwink too many American voters into following shallow, illogical policies. This denigration of thoughtfulness and character is what every several generations crumbles a nation's foundations.
President Obama inherited the economic and terror-laden crisis that provides a historic opportunity to alter a nation and world's course. He has most of America's logically thinking voters on his side, and many of those who are moving toward such rationality. He has a huge reservoir of support for the citizen-initiated laws we propose he articulate and help create.
These citizen-initiated proposals, the AWSC Congressional Proposals and the Fair Tax Bracket Reinstitution Act (FTBRA), insures that a SNF is laid, disastrous public policies avoided, financial inequities lightened, and economic downturns reduced.
Enacting these laws moves Americans beyond, "Talking the talk, without walking the walk" that too many opinion molders cement into the beliefs of too many unaware fellow Americans. These almost brainwashed Americans believe talking myopic patriotism is all that's needed to establish what they believe is required American hegemony.
Only by involving millions of Americans in full-time, intense service learning experiences will America's public policy IQ be raised enough to stem the mushrooming of poverty, hatreds, ignorance, and terrorism that drains world resources, which would otherwise give enough families the decent lives that sends poverty and terrorism packing. Such service is the essence of true patriotism.
The Serve America Act is a nice step in the direction of what the AWSC Congressional Proposals proposes. But slowly building the Peace Corps to the peak it reached when I served in the slums of Bombay in the late 60's does not answer the world's pressing needs, show the world an American response which matches their needs, or engrain a character of service that produces healthy domestic and international public policies. And tripling AmeriCorps doesn't address the stateside needs we have in schools, medical care, climate change, elder care, appropriate technology, disaster response, poverty housing eradication...
During the New Deal years of 1933-41, when America had about 130 million and the world numbered about 2.2 billion citizens, 3,000,000 Americans served in Workers Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps programs.
Today 300 million American and about 7 billion world citizens face a series of problems as daunting as those faced four generations ago, yet we don't field comparable numbers to address those problems. And we still lack the vision to build such a productive corps that can erase the reoccurrence of such problems every four generations. If we continue overlooking what a large, dedicated corps of Americans can do in building vibrant institutions and businesses, we may lose the ability and character to do such fundamental nation building.
Asking 21 million Americans to serve voluntarily in their choice of existing national, international, public, and non-profit organizations under the AWSC umbrella over the next 27 years is not a big request in answer to the New Frontier's call:
"Ask not what your country can do for you,
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