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A US Candidate's Community Service Draft for Boys

by XicanoPwr Fri Sep 8th, 2006 at 04:12:13 PM EST

Duke1676 at Migra Matters recently reported that on a Colorado candidate that really is not receiving that much attention, which I feel it really should. The on going immigration debate will continue to be a hot button issue. Sad thing is, it appears, Congress is unlikely to enact immigration legislation before November. In other words it is a non-issue.

However, in Colorado, things are heating up between Republican candidate Rick O'Donnell and Democrat candidate Ed Perlmutter in Colorado's 7th Congressional District, who are running to fill a seat being vacated by Rep Bob Beauprez, who is seeking the governor.

It seems two years ago, when Rick O'Donnell was serving as executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, he wrote an article in the Denver Post, titled "A new rite of passage," proposing that every male in their 2nd semester of their senior year to perform compulsory service by guarding the border with Mexico or securing the ports for Homeland Security. According to O'Donnell, after the first semester of 12th grade, "all new men in America do six months of service" and the money held would go towards establishing a national service corp. for men. Not men and women, just men.

This is what he proposes:

I propose that after the first semester of 12th grade, all young men in America do six months of service. For those who drop out of high school, they replace those lost years with additional service....

Young men could have a choice of where to serve, such as homeland security, armed forces or community service. After a basic-training type orientation, they would be given various duties in sore need of attention: securing our border with Mexico; thinning our national forests to reduce fire risk; providing homeland security at ports and other vulnerable locations.

Additionally, it would help assimilate the children of immigrants into being Americans.

This train of thought has so many problems at so many levels. The first has to do with the immigration. How are they going to help children of immigrants assimilate into being Americans, if the function of the Border Patrol is to "deter illegal entries" into the US. According to their national strategy, their 5 primary objectives are:
  1. Establish substantial probability of apprehending terrorists and their weapons as they attempt to enter illegally between the ports of entry;
  2. Deter illegal entries through improved enforcement;
  3. Detect, apprehend, and deter smugglers of humans, drugs, and other contraband;
  4. Leverage "Smart Border" technology to multiply the effect of enforcement personnel; and
  5. Reduce crime in border communities and consequently improve quality of life and economic vitality of targeted areas.
Nowhere in their goals does it state that the migra are there to help the immigrants assimilate into the US. Where did O'Donnell get this idea?

Second, has to deal with the main reason for creating this program - "adequately preparing its boys for manhood."

Men commit suicide four times more than women. The federal prison population is 93 percent male. Only 47 percent of Colorado's sixth-grade boys pass the writing CSAP, compared to 62 percent of girls. On the 10-grade reading CSAP only 61 percent of boys pass, compared to 73 percent of girls....

There are many complex causes for this sad streak of problems among young men. The largest contributor is the epidemic of absent fathers. Almost 35 percent of boys live without their biological father. Forty percent of children in fatherless homes have not seen their father even once during the past year. Boys without fathers are twice as likely to be dropouts and four times as likely to need behavioral treatment as boys with fathers.

There is no doubt his goals are honorable, but don't be fooled by his straw man defense. Although he may be trying to create a national program similar to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, in reality, he is not.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is the oldest, largest and most effective youth mentoring organization in the United States. We have been the leader in one-to-one youth service for more than a century, developing positive relationships that have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of young people. Big Brothers Big Sisters serves children, ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country - including yours.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters Mission is to help children reach their potential through professionally supported, one-to-one relationships with measurable impact.

His real intentions are more questionable than honorable:
Each year, 4 million young men would do something productive for their country, rather than drop out of school or waste time in 12th grade. They would undergo a society-wide rite of passage into manhood, one that provides discipline, positive role models, fraternity, physical effort and a sense of adventure and risk.
O'Donnell seems to emphasize in the importance of male bonding when it comes to the rite of passage into manhood. The last time any relevant discussion that occurred emphasizing male bonding was during the German Youth Movement. The main purpose of the Hitler Youth was to provide a setting that is presumed to change German boys from a "limp dishrags" into a real man. Jungvolk members were supposed to prove that they were no more "little mama's boys."
n order to create the stage upon which this performance of masculinity could be presented, it was necessary to undergo a rite of passage, which the Hitler Youth called 'baptism by fire.' Baptism by fire was the youth's first experience fighting. Here his masculine identity was tested. Young boys were trained for this ultimate test of their masculinity through conditioning towards violence and the physical training of their bodies. ... Kinderlandverschikung program (KLV camps), the Nazi program for evacuating youth from the dangerous bombed cities to safer places, were transformed from "the young elite of the nation" into a "horde of half-grown barbarians."
This is not an exaggeration; O'Donnell provides plenty of notions into his train of thought. O'Donnell begins the article by explaining "rite of passage" to manhood and how a father and son spent the weekend hiking, camping and talking not as father and son, but man to man. Because it was man to man, it adequately provided the ingredients - fraternity, acceptance, adventure and risk - necessary for an entrance to manhood.

Some may wonder, what does camping trip and tribal rituals have to do in rational connection with Nazism, but in reality, a lot. O'Donnell points to various problems in society regard male youth, he strongly asserts that the "largest contributor is the epidemic of absent fathers." O'Donnell argues, "Boys must learn from their fathers how to become men." He then carries on to firmly claim that only men can effectively show boy "guy things" generally because there are matters a woman "can never teach her son," therefore failing to raise their "boys successfully [to] become men of character." As determined by whom? When dealing with traditional gender roles, physical strength connotes manliness while the inability to defend one's self is viewed as being too feminine.

There is an inherent danger in O'Donnell's argument for establishing a national organization devoted to creating a "society-wide rite of passage into manhood." In American culture, adolescence is viewed as a time of turmoil, frustration, and change; and in all honestly, there is no official rite of passage from childhood into adulthood. To understand the danger in establishing this type of organization, one must have a basic understanding in human development, especially when it comes to adolescent development.

Erik Erikson describes eight stages to human development, the stage prevalent to adolescent development to Erikson's eight stages is Identity vs. Role Confusion. Erickson proposes that in each stage a child experiences a conflict that he or she must successfully resolve in order for the child to grow into an emotional healthy adult. Identity vs. Role Confusion occurs between the ages of 11 and 18. In this stage, the adolescent begins to develop a sense of importance and self worth through interacting with his or her peers. If an adolescent is unsuccesful in this stage, individuals would remain isolated and are unable to complete the process of identification of which Erikson speaks. In other words, it is in stage, an adolescent acquires a sense of belonging in peer group, which then provides them a standard they can evaluate themselves. It is also in this stage an adolescent adopts the values, norms, customs and language of the group, thus leading to a mass identity. A peer group can also help them to make the transition from reliance on the family to relative independence.

It is also important to mention Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development. Kohlberg proposes three levels of morality within which are two stages each of moral orientation. The conventional level of moral reasoning is typical of adolescents and adults. The conventional level consists of the third and fourth stages of moral development. In Stage three, an adolescent wants to remain in good standing with the important people in his/her life; therefore, he/she conforms to the rules and regulations set forth.

In Stage four the adolescent learns that conforming to rules, laws, dictums and social conventions is important in maintaining a functioning society. One must follow the rules to be morally acceptable. It is also where the person feels there is an obligation and a duty to uphold laws and rules.

In the last level, morality is viewed in terms of personal rights. Democratic society should govern ideals and principles in order for each individual to be treated morally and fairly.

Another interesting aspect of O'Donnell's community service corp. for men is his no exception rule for his little "fraternity."

No one would be exempt, rich kids couldn't buy their way out of service, and it wouldn't involve the informality of AmeriCorps.
It is only through a classless society that it is possible to successfully establish a fraternal society because through this, people are more adept to having a feeling of equality with each other. Interestingly, during Nazi Germany, the Nazis nearly created a classless society, which illustrates why there was a collective mass with a common ideology and similar goals.

It is also through a fraternal society, a strong sense of civil obedience to a government is created because a society will have a common culture, morals, and beliefs. Nevertheless, fraternalism will end up providing its members a collective consciousness that is defined by society's morals, traditions and beliefs that are dictated to them. One of O'Donnell worries is that in today's society, men are lacking a traditional set of morals, traditions, and moral that defines his view of what a "real man" should be:

"It's sad that for too many young men, sex, sports and violence are all that is left as anchors of their souls, rather than family, faith and hard-work."
What better way to establish a stronger pro-Americana movement while creating an army of 17 and 18 year olds protecting our borders from the Brown invasion. What is scary is the reality that the Republican Party nominated him to run for US Congress knowing O'Donnell wrote this essay.

As the Bush Administration is trying to have us perceive that facism is spreading in the Middle East - "war against Islamic fascism" - we, however, are failing to pay attention to the fact that we are the ones inching closer to fascism. Former Vice President Henry Wallace provided us a warning on what is considered an American fascist, yet, it is us who failed him by not heeding to his warning.

represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American fascists of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after "the present unpleasantness" ceases...

Fascism in the postwar inevitably will push steadily for Anglo-Saxon imperialism and eventually for war with Russia. Already American fascists are talking and writing about this conflict and using it as an excuse for their internal hatreds and intolerances toward certain races, creeds and classes.

Racism is becoming more wide spread because it finally has seeped into our mind and is making our decisions for us on who is acceptable or not.
It comes at us from the time we are young and not even able to discern truth from lie so well, let alone comprehend why on earth humans would purposely be so deceptive as our corporate structures who so heavily influence social norms and mores are.

... In this country, there is racism everywhere. And if you don't see it, it's because you're being a good, hypnotized subject who has personal reasons for not seeing the racism. Of course, the obvious signs of racism are addressed in this society. They are obvious! And we like the pretense of being a kind and civilized and enlightened culture. So we praise Rosa Parks and we quote MLK, and we make a Black or Brown friend in the supermarket, and we call Racism dead.

It is hard to comprehend how patrolling the border or creating an all male national community service program designed to successfully institute a "society-wide rite of passage into manhood" will ease the social ills that plague this nation from poverty, homelessness, unemployment, insufficient healthcare, absence of assistance for unwed mothers and the elderly - all the main reasons President Lyndon B. Johnson created the national community service programs in the first place.

If we are to crush the current system we have in place, we must put in place the ability to keep people fully employed and end the ridiculous spend on this war. We must put human beings first and the almighty dollar second. We must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate this oppressive government that is now in charge and the modern day robber barons that have once again formed monopolies. I will say it again.

We must not tolerate this oppressive government that is now in charge and the modern day robber barons that have once again formed monopolies.

This is an excellent diary, if not directly relevant to Europe it should motivate us to stay vigilant for similar proosals coming from our own politicians. We have no shortage of fascists, explicit or in sheep's clothing.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:28:19 AM EST
I was debating about posting it here, but I felt that it was important for my European friends to know what is happening over here. It sort of explains the mind set of our government and can set off warning flags.

Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. - Gandhi
by XicanoPwr (chicanopwr at gmail.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:36:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any reason why you don't cross-post at DKos?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 02:38:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My daries did tend to sink faster than the titanic.

Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. - Gandhi
by XicanoPwr (chicanopwr at gmail.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 08:00:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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