Remedy for America: Year of National Service

Former Gen. Stan McChrystal makes his case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2014 12:31 PM CST
Remedy for America: Year of National Service

Turnout in the last election was the lowest in 70 years, another sign of the sorry state of American civic life, writes former Gen. Stan McChrystal in the Washington Post. Nobody trusts elected leaders anymore, and McChrystal thinks the "problem runs deeper than politics." Our politicians are a reflection of the rest us—and our lack of "common identity or purpose." His solution? A year of national service for people ages 18 to 28. It would be voluntary but "socially expected," and he thinks it can work if candidates, donors, and voters make it an issue in the 2016 election.

"Every young adult should be called to year-long service," he writes. That might mean being a classroom tutor, a conservation worker in a national park, an aide for hospice patients, or any number of similar opportunities. We can work in modest stipends, course credits, and the like. Something has to change in modern America, writes the former general. "We lack common experiences that bind us as a people," he argues. "We have lost our confidence in doing big things as a nation." Click for his full column. (McChrystal is the general whose military career was done in by a Rolling Stone article.)

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