Non-Military, Public Works-Oriented National Service sign now

We, the undersigned, citizens of the United States of America, recognize that the results of the 2004 presidential election emphasize the politically and philosophically divisive climate in our country. Americans woke up on November 3rd, 2004, the day after Election Day, to dual realities: Bush supporters living in one reality, his critics living in another. While the particulars of the issues that divide us are beyond the scope of this letter, we wish to address a potential, and promising, remedy to the situation.

Due to the fact that our country is large, with an incredibly diverse population living in highly varied living situations, it is hard for American citizens to truly identify, and feel united with one another. For a rural Nebraskan to imagine daily life as an urban New Yorker, or vice versa, would be difficult, given that they have no reason to interact with one another in their own environments. Our government does not facilitate any program for the purpose of unifying the citizenry. Furthermore, taxation and jury duty aside, there is nothing that is required of us, as American citizens, that calls for widespread active participation in the civic life of our country.

We feel the best way to satisfy these deficiencies in our democracy, and unite Americans in an equitable manner, is that our government require every citizen, upon drop-out or graduation from high school, to perform a year of non-military, public works-oriented National Service. A National Service program, recognizing that exposure to diversity breeds tolerance, would bring together people from a wide spectrum of political and social philosophies. If administered correctly, this program would give every citizen equal access to opportunities to gain experiences, learn skills, and develop talents for college and/or careers. At the same time, a National Service program would inspire unity among participants through common experiences and through the shared honor of being called to civic duty for our country. National Service would be instrumental in forging profound connections among the citizenry, and foster a sense of national community and trust that is lacking in the current political and societal atmosphere of the United States.

We urge the legislators in the Senate and the House of Representatives to seriously consider the matters addressed in this letter, and to support legislation to fund and implement a National Service program. We believe it will make the United States a more equitable, tolerant, and unified country. A country with these qualities would likely not have such a deep philisophical divide as we have now, and would produce and elect candidates to all levels of government that would reflect the philosophical leanings of a greater majority of the citizenry than do now.

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Yvonne DuncanBy:
Technology and the InternetIn:
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U.S. Congress

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