Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Public Service Academy

Students from across the county were recently in Washington in July lobbying Congress for legislation that would establish a public service academy that wold work in much the same way as the military academies. The purpose of such an institution would be to "build a more perfect union by developing leaders of character dedicated to service in the public sector." 


The necessity for an outlet to serve one's country, and being trained and prepared to do so effectively, is absolutely greater than it has ever been given our lack of leaders in Washington who can get anything done on behalf of this nation and is thankfully getting some support both in congress (by the likes of PA Sen. Arlen Specter and NY Sen. Hillary Clinton) and on the campaign trail.

Obama: "Loving your country shouldn't just mean watching fireworks on the Fourth of July...Loving your country must mean accepting your responsibility to do your part to change it." 

McCain:"I think after 9/11 we made a mistake...I think after 9/11, instead of telling Americans to take a trip or go shopping, I think we had an opportunity to call Americans to serve."

Though neither are co-sponsors of the bill, the idea of reengaging the American people, especially the young generation, with their country through public service is prevalent in their campaigns. This was also a main point in Bill Richardson's campaign, which suggested that college be free for those who will serve their country for at least two years following graduation. 

In order to solve the large issues we face as a country it is a good idea to start producing leaders and public servants who will be able to tackle them - leaders who will put policy over politics, much like this blog. 

4 comments:

Chris Myers Asch said...

Thanks so much for telling your readers about our initiative to build a U.S. Public Service Academy. You're absolutely right -- we need to develop leaders who put policy over politics, who want to solve problems rather than score political points. I hope that you will get involved in our effort.

Steve B. Lem, Ph.D. said...

Unfortunately I'm not sure a U.S. Public Service Academy (USPSA herein) would accomplish the expressed goal of democratic political change.

First, if we assume that political change must occur from high ranking officials - i.e., political leader (I should note this is a challengable assumption) - then putting power in the hands of those emerging from USPSA would violate democratic principles. Essentially we'd be taking policies out of the hands of the people who, allegedly, control them via the ballot box and their elected officials. I should note, however, that this is not a criticism of the system per se; rather, the idea of a USPSA seems somewhat analogous to what Plato proposed in The Republic.

Second, the creation of a USPSA by Congress would likely not be the mechanism for political change. Rather, much like military training institutions, I would suspect that a USPSA would be designed to train people to work within the existing governmental framework rather than training people to change it.

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