"That you may ruminate"

…On Being Asked for Support

Posted by Steve on July 24, 2008

This may be something peculiar about me (though I hope not, as it’s a good way to be and thus should be common), but when someone asks me to support something, I like them to answer some questions for me:

  1. What, specifically, do you want me to support?
  2. How, exactly, do you want me to support it?
  3. And this deserves supporting why?

Just recently was I led to the website of these people. Now, I’ve clicked every link on their website, and read everything there, but I couldn’t find answers to something it seems fairly obvious to ask about: what is their proposed text for this “National Service Act of 2009” they intend to see passed, as stated in their “Strategy” and “Timeline” tabs? It seems odd that they ask for support and don’t specify this. It seems extremely peculiar that they don’t provide their proposed legislation’s text especially since they have that big notice on their front page about how they don’t support mandatory programs. After all, the text of the “Universal National Service Act of 2007” that Representative Rangel proposed very clearly was setting up a mandatory program, and you’d think they’d want to make the distinction between that proposal and their own as clear as possible – which would entail spelling out the differences. A lot harder to not distinguish things properly when their differences aren’t detailed. Not to mention, a lot harder to succeed in deliberately misrepresenting someone’s ideas when they’ve clearly stated those ideas in explicit detail.

Furthermore, you’d think they’d want to do as much as possible to clarify how their affiliation to these folks doesn’t include agreement with whichever one’s responsible for including vested enfranchisement in their “Lexicon of Service” glossary and “Choose Your Own National Service Act” poll. I mean, “do this if you want to be allowed to vote” doesn’t meet any definition of “voluntary” that I’ve ever heard of. For that matter, “You’ve been drafted into the military, like it or not, but if you don’t like it, we’ll make you do civilian work instead” also doesn’t leave that civilian labor meeting any definition worthy of the word “voluntary”.

Also, opprobrium unto to who wrote the poll on the second site, as it’s heavily laden with leading questions. The first site just has an abysmally short “poll”.

Oh, another thing: Rangel’s bill there? Way too much delegation of decision-making to the executive branch. The executive is there to do just that: execute. As in, “implement policies determined by others, carry out instructions given by others, and implement the will of others.” Not form policies with legal force or promulgate regulations for the citizenry-at-large. President of the U.S. shouldn’t be a policy-making office, it should just be the world’s most glorified Assistant Manager job. To allude to sci-fi I don’t like, you know how on Star Trek Patrick Stewart always said “Make it so” to people? Yeah, the President isn’t Patrick Stewart. The President’s the guy Patrick Stewart’s telling to make it so.

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