Poll: Should we require a year of national service?

We’re talking about the idea today on the show. What do you think?

  • Karen

    I think this could be very good for our country. For some people who are very motivated, this may not make sense although maybe there is a way for them to fulfill this duty while they are students. Could even be part of a college curriculum. So I would say that requiring a “year” from everyone may not work. But requiring a minimum number of hours would be sensible.

    National service would be attractive to some people throughout their lives too – not just when they are young.

  • I am a liberal lefty college professor, but before I started this gig, I did 4 years active duty service in the Army, which has never been called a lefty organization… I learned a lot about people — American people, that is — as a result of my service, and I’ve found many situations where my familiarity with the complete, integrated melting pot of citizens that is the US Army served me well. Asking people to pull together for 1 year of their lives with the entire spectrum of our population? Fabulous idea. Anything that can help build community in this divisive new century would be a valuable undertaking, not to mention the opportunity for everyone to see what “public” entities can do for the greater good.

  • JasonB

    This is a practical notion with noble intentions that unfortunately is inherently unattainable. Since the beginning of civilization the upper classes have literally spent good money specifically to live a life separate from the lower classes. Unless there is a change in the structure of government we will never have a completely integrated society of classes.

    Individually it does happen. I’m sure the Peace Corp has had members from all social strata. But unless everyone participates to make an impact along a broad base of a social class it will only serve to enrich the minority of individuals who volunteer.

    This is idealism that I don’t see happening soon. The image of a rich person cheerily digging a ditch alongside a poor person is an almost comical conceit.

  • Holly

    Someone suggested you could get 4 years of free public higher education in exchange for 2 years of service. I have no children, no pets, no spouse. I would GLADLY give up 2 years of my life to work in something like City Year, but I’m 31. I see on your website that the cut-off age is 24.

  • Hugh

    Why is everything targeting toward young people. How about seniors?

  • Joshua

    I don’t think making a minimum year of service mandatory for all citizens. No one is talking about the effect of career interruption that would take place if it’s mandatory. I’m 22 and have just started a career at a small business, if I were required to put my career on pause for a full year there is a chance that it would negatively affect the prospects of the company.

    Are we sure we want to forcibly interrupt a young professional’s career?

  • No one should be forced to do anything in this country (except maybe the draft during an emergency). Try using better incentives to get people to join these volunteer groups…maybe free tuition at an in-state school after a year to two of service.

  • Doug

    I think the comments that JasonB makes are probably correct. Just imagine the effect on the quality of service being delivered when you’ve a some upper crust brats who don’t want to be there – just a nightmare.

    Also, as a practical consideration, a one caller mentioned, the wages currently offered may only work if people lived together in bunches. And what about healthcare? I didn’t hear that discussed – I may have missed it. Is there organization relying on volunteers staying on their parents health insurance?

  • Abigail

    While I think that a requirement of a year of national service is an interesting and possibly very beneficial idea, I voted no.

    One issue I have is that we need to think about the opportunities that are open within these services right now. They have so many applicants already and not enough positions or resources to allow everyone that applies to participate, let alone every citizen.

    I also know that there are many non-profits doing excellent work in our communities that could use our time, talents, and dollars. Volunteering with any of them would serve a similar purpose to national service and there is always plenty of work to go around.

    Perhaps we should be focusing on promoting community service in general for our citizenry instead of solely these national service organizations.

  • Hannah

    As an AmeriCorps alum who has seen what benefits service can have on both individuals and communities, I think this is an excellent idea. The group I worked with included ages from 18 to over 60. A year of service can be done at any point in life – maybe as a gap year between high school and college, maybe partially for college credit, maybe as a final year before retirement – with different incentives for different ages. Requiring it with a financial incentive could be an investment in education for younger people or a similar amount put toward retirement for the older. Alternatively, perhaps a higher tax rate or some other financial could be used for people unwilling or unable to give a year of service to ‘contribute’ to society.

  • mike

    This is bad idea in so many ways.

    Although the people suggesting this have noble intent in mind it will not have the desired results in the end.

    Doing something because you WANT to is very different than doing it because you NEED to.

  • Sonny

    I think national service would be a good idea for younger people roughly age 16-21 who are unemployed and have no aspiration in life. It would disipline the nation and give younger people respect. National service does not have to be military service but more like a training scheme, making convicted criminals clean streets, training the young to be ambulance drivers (like in Germany).

  • David arneson

    Sure, but let’s make it manditory for people to fulfill BEFORE they collect their social security or govern,ent pensions!

    Saddling young people with this indentured servitude right as they are starting their careers and families is silly. The baby-boom generation has generally had a total free ride, but they sure love to demand more from all the generations before and after them. Call it the silverspoon giveback.

  • Kayla Wiley

    I voted yes because I feel like if everyone is required to help in some way it will bring everyone together for a common purpose.

  • Colin Dunn

    I feel that we should not be required to commit to a year of national service. I think that it will hinder people’s abilities to get jobs out of college.

  • Grant Wethington

    I fell that we should not have to do a year of national service. For me I feel that it would put an individuals career on hold or hinder college students ability to find jobs.

  • Connor Blandford

    I feel that a person should not be required to do a year of national service. The reason for this is because i believe that a year is too long of a time to be forced to do something. Also being forced to do something by the government always should send up red flags and I believe this is not a necessity, an should not be required.

  • Bridget Dames

    I feel like this is a good idea in theory but it would cause too many problems. I believe one year would take away too much time in ones life. It could interfere with college, marriage or starting a family.

  • Andrew Wetzel

    I feel that a mandatory year of national service could help bridge the gap of the upper and lower classes but, I do not think that it would be fair to stop someone from living their life for a mandatory service. The whole idea sounds like it could end up like a Military draft.

  • Joshua Marlar

    A mandatory year of service would be taking away some freedom for a good service, so I vote yes because of the good reason, think of it, the average person live 70-80 years these days 1 of those years is miniscule compared to how long one lives.

  • leon nobles

    i voted yes because i think this ideal would work and it is a smart thing to happen. it would show how people feel in how they live when there in the service people can learn a lot from it.

  • Cody Ison

    a mandatory year of service should happen because it would bring the country closer and many people would experience different cultures. Plus you will be getting paid to do the service

  • Nikki Williams

    I voted no because I believe a mandatory year of service would potentially force people to put their life on hold, which is a problem with career determining things like college, for example.

  • Sam Brunner

    I voted no because I think that too many negative things outweigh the postive things such as it ould start a big controversy of who has to do it and the circmstances someone may have that they will be unable to join. I also think people need to go straight to college and shouldnt wait until and do this program.

  • Ian Lucke

    It should be a choice.

  • andrew kollmann

    i believe it would be a good idea for a year of service because it would help unify the country. however it she be permitted for students to do this after they graduate high school. that way there are not single mothers that cant go anywhere

  • Ben Roberts

    I think a year of service should be mandatory. If you look at Israel they have teens at 13 years old joining the military because it is a state law. I think that a year of service would help bring our nation together and also strengthen us in the long run.

  • shelby wilson

    i feel that people should be required to do some form of national service to their liking. this is because activities like this help improve the citizens of our nation.

  • Jacob Blumberg

    I think making one year of national service mandatory would be a mistake!
    A) Making it MANDATORY would cut back on people’s freedom, we should be able to choose what we want to do with OUR time.
    B) This may sound like a great idea, but not everyone is physically capable of doing such work, or not in a situation to leave home, IE: Watching kids, having to work, etc…

  • Jeremy Thomas

    I think that this is a good idea and that it should be mandatory, but implementation should be done carefully.