As president, I will propose a national referendum for Americans between the ages of 18-30. We should place this idea before our young people and allow them to decide: should the United States institute a program whereby every American citizen between the age of 18 and 26 performs one year of mandatory National Service?
I believe we should, but the ultimate decision should be theirs.
The systems of stress on our society today -- from the need for a WW2 level mass mobilization to combat climate change, to a health care crisis in rural areas, to under-supported schools, to crumbling infrastructure, to an urgent need for peace-building both here and around the world -- all these cry out for a season of repair. National Service could be done in a variety of areas, according to the talents and desires of the individual doing the service. The service should be remunerated, either in terms of housing and basic costs, or in terms of financial support for higher education.
A culture of living only for oneself has done great damage to our society, and a program of National Service will remind all Americans that we owe something to our country. The United States is in need of a great turning, a great leap onto higher moral ground, where we're living not just for ourselves but for each other, for our country, and for our world.