Your morning jolt: Suddenly, national service is a liberal bogeyman

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson took the unusual step of sending a message to certain Georgians via Sadie Fields, leader of the Georgia Christian Alliance.

Through a Christian Alliance e-mail blast, Isakson declared that he did not believe in the forced indoctrination of American youth for a new Stalinist state. Nor did he believe in the creation of a new ACORN army for Barack Obama.

All Isakson had done is make a speech, on the floor of the Senate, declaring himself in favor of national service — a speech that included mention of Kate Puzey, a 24-year-old Peace Corps volunteer from Cummings, Ga., who was killed in Africa last month.

But something strange is happening on the fringes of Internet conservatism. National service, which since the end of the draft in the 1970s has been a kind of Holy Grail of the right, has suddenly been transformed into a symbol of leftist authoritarianism.

Specifically, Isakson was speaking in favor of the $6 billion reauthorization of the bipartisan National Service Act.

Isakson was singled out in the response on RedState.com:

The “Serve America Act” is cloaked in feel-good rhetoric and supposedly noble goals, but it is nothing more than another Washington power-grab – this time targeted at non-profits and education – and ultimately at indoctrinating a whole new generation of Obamanistas into forsaking individual liberty and free will for the Statist worldview…..The legislation will, in many circumstances, force our children to participate in charitable activity as part of school – and that activity may well be chosen by or approved by a bureaucrat.

Columnist Michelle Malkin has said something similar. Radio talk show host Mark Levin, too.

In his speech on the topic seven days ago, in addition to the mention of Puzey’s death, Isakson pointed out that Paul Coverdell, the future U.S. senator from Georgia, once served as director of the all-volunteer Peace Corps. And that George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light Foundation is now run from Atlanta by Michelle Nunn, daughter of the former U.S. senator.

What Isakson didn’t say is that her father, Sam Nunn, while a senator and since, has been one of the most consistent advocates of national service over the last 30 years. It is one of the reasons Nunn carried the title of Democratic hawk in the 1980s and the 1990s. Nunn saw national service, military and civilian, as a way to curry national identity among young people. The issue separated him from liberals of the day.

Sam Nunn, of course, now has some influence in the Obama administration. If you read Obama’s remarks on U.S. policy toward Russia, you will see much of Nunn there. If you read Obama’s remarks on national service, you will see the same influence.

What a topsy-turvy world we’ve made.

While you ponder that thought, take a look at these stories on ajc.com this morning:

  • A climatologist officially declares and end to drought in metro Atlanta.
  • E-mails obtained by the AJC show that state Rep. Clay Cox, the CEO of a private probation company, had a running dispute with the oversight council he’s now trying to restrict with a bill.
  • Get Georgia Moving Coalition calls for action on transportation, and oesn’t particularly care what kind.
  • With two days left, the Georgia Senate nears an okay on a $18.6 billion budget.
  • The state Department of Education has failed to comply with a 1998 state law requiring an independent review of charter school.
  • A federal judge allowed a case to overturn Georgia’s tough sex offender law to go forward, and barred enforcement of a provision that banned volunteering at churches.
  • Some opinion:

  • State Rep. Harry Geisinger defends H.B. 480, says motor vehicles should belong to each of us free and clear.
  • George Israel and Sam Williams say road vote is crucial, but that they’d prefer a regional approach to a sales tax.
  • Jim Wooten says this transportation power shift needs standards and openness.
  • And elsewhere:

  • Politico: What’s in the driveways of White House aides? A lot of foreign cars, as it turns out.
  • WP: 80 percent of U.S. voters blame banks, not Obama, for economy.
  • NYT: President Obama’s decision to reshape the automobile industry has few precedents.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    6 comments Add your comment

    SISSY SAXBY

    March 31st, 2009
    11:11 am

    Country First, indeed.

    Road Scholar

    March 31st, 2009
    12:52 pm

    Repub phrase of the week: Power grab

    Just Nasty & Mean

    March 31st, 2009
    3:49 pm

    GREAT IDEA!

    Let’s create the equivalent of the Nazi Youth at taxpayer expense–and let’s get it up and running before the next presidential election.

    Let’s create an army of taxpayer-paid political machinery–with their jobs beholden to the Obama–and democratic administration—Just like Chicago!

    Better yet, let’s create another massive government organization and bureaucracy to run the details of this massive resource, down to what each individual does every day (kinda like the Dept. of Education does now)!.

    What say we just burn all the books telling of our forefathers attempts to protect the individual, and focus on the collective? Forget self initiative! Throw out any thought of Judeau/Christian values and turn to pure secularism–even if all our monuments and writings of our country advise otherwise.

    Obama–and Socialism on the march…..

    Copyleft

    March 31st, 2009
    5:57 pm

    So now, in their mad frenzy to oppose Obama, the conservatives have even abandoned the concept of public service as “too communist” for their individualist (read: selfish) souls.

    Good! It helps make them even more irrelevant to the new direction America has taken. If patriotism is too “collectivist” for you, go be an individual in your basement, typing away furiously… The rest of us will enjoy building a better America.

    [...] mentioned in yesterday’s’ post few conservative groups have condemned it as encouraging [...]

    SickoftheTyranny

    April 1st, 2009
    7:55 pm

    Copyleft said: “So now, in their mad frenzy to oppose Obama, the conservatives have even abandoned the concept of public service as “too communist” for their individualist (read: selfish) souls.”

    Exactly! I would also point out that whenever it was John McCain promoting Americorps after the 911, conservatives thought public service was a great idea.