Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Obama Wants To Expand The Peace Corps


I think Barack is saying a lot of really disappointing things lately, from a liberal point of view. The Peace Corps is a good thing in the abstract in a few ways, but I feel like conservatives like it because it takes liberal young people out of the country (who would otherwise be advocating for liberal politics here in America). It basically decreases our ranks to win political victories and take things away from the Republicans.

Think about the '60s and all the important social movements and legislation that were going on then, or have their origins in 1960s liberal activism. How much of that really would have taken-off if tens of thousands of people who had the guts and compassion it takes to go suffer in a dangerous foreign country for several years in the Peace Corps had joined up with them instead of being student activists on college campuses? (I know the Peace Corps began in the '60, but what if it had been bigger and more successfully recruited volunteers). And how many of the second-stringers as far as personality and intelligence would have made the student organizations and activism in general as successful at college campuses across the country as the most talented student leaders did? Remember, we have to do all this in the face of Republican attempts at disruption and misinformation. We're not served in this endeavor by having any of our best people drop out from participating at least in some capacity to do something else (that takes them entirely away from American political advocacy).

Right now what we most need is to decisively win at politics in America, to defend against the Republicans. We no more need liberal college-age and graduate-school aged people who are brave, motivated and dynamic joining the Peace Corps than we need them going over to fight in Iraq.

Let Europe-- or some other First World nation that isn't struggling with the Bushies, who currently command the world's strongest military and greatest economy-- do what the Peace Corps does. What Barack is suggesting runs counter to what should be basic Democratic strategy right now. You know young Karl Roves, Frank Luntzes and Sean Hannitys aren't going to join the Peace Corps, or at least not in anything like the relative numbers to the whole number of their activists that young liberals will.

The Peace Corps would be good at another time. It would certainly redound to our nation's benefit if we didn't have more pressing needs for their personnel, because it could increase stability in the world. But right now doing better at American domestic politics should be a priority that trumps the Peace Corp's need for volunteers.