Monday, October 11, 2004


What's In A Word? Quite A Bit, Actually.


Originally from the Kerry-Edwards Campaign, the following has since been removed from their website (which is why I got it from archives instead). Kerry has always allowed himself wiggle-room in his answers to questions of mandatory national service, which is of course just a half-step away from mandatory national military service. But that's not the point of this particular post.

Creating a New Army of Patriots

[...] As part of his 100 day plan to change America, John Kerry will propose a comprehensive service plan that includes requiring mandatory service [my emphasis] for high school students and four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of national service.

It seems to me that K/E are proposing two plans:
  • A plan for mandatory national civilian service; and
  • a plan for subsidized national military service.
Question: doesn't the mandatory civilian service sound far more prone to abuse than the military service? At least in the military, the role is well-defined. But the non-military service? That can be whatever the political masters of the day deem it to be.

Just how slippery is that slope? Well, can you envision teenagers - under threat of criminal prosecution, I presume, since that's what "mandatory" means - forced to work for years on the local pols' pet projects? I can, cuz that's what it says above. That little word means so much. Will Kerry-haters want their kids to do his bidding any more than Bush-haters would want their kids to do Bush's?

Are you, or are you not, the property of the state? That seems to be the real question here.