So yeah, every so often in the news, there's something about THE DRAFT and everyone goes completely fucking bonkers. Sometimes it's almost as if the media is like, "Hey, have we mentioned anything about the draft lately?" and some dude in the back is like, "Uh naw, it's about that time," and then they mention it again, juuuust to keep people on their toes. Juuuust to instill the right amount of paranoia to keep people against hostile engagements with people who would chop off your head without thinking twice.
I find this interesting on a number of different levels -- I wonder what peoples' reasons for being against the draft would be, i,e. would they be based on an ideal or simple self preservation? They'd rather not be bothered? How many people would actually go, and if they did, how many of them would be malingering little bitches? In this day and age, how many people would decide that society had called upon them, and as someone who enjoys the benefits of society, it was time for them to make a little sacrifice of their own? What would the breakdown of socio-economic levels look like? Interesting stuff, I reckon.
Robert Heinlein has some wicked social commentaries in his books. His basic message is usually something like this: 1) The needs of the individual will never take precedence over the needs of society, 2) everyone needs to do their part, and 3) average individuals can do huge things when they work together and are creative. I'm sure there are a lot of other things in there too, but those are the 3 that I came up with just now. Anywho, in Starship Troopers (it's a good book, so don't bash it just cuz you thought the movie was goofy, which it was, but it still kicked ass in its own right), in order to be a citizen / vote / run for public office, you had to do national service. Here was the idea: People choosing the nation's leaders and people who actually were the nation's leaders had to be a part of something that was difficult to join, easy to quit, and required a person to have some serious perseverance for a selfless reason. If you quit or didn't join, you could enjoy the benefits of society, but you had no say in how society was run or who would run it.
OK, yeah, the book is fiction, and no bug creatures are hurling asteroids at our planet, but it's a pretty interesting idea - something that I think about a lot. I often wonder how practical it would be to have an enforced national service policy in the USA, keeping in mind that joining the Military is not the only way a person can serve their country. Jobs like being a teacher, public defender, cop, nurse, etc etc could count, and everyone would have to do, say, 3 years of "national service" in order to earn the right to vote and hold public office. Three years is not a lot of time. A person could graduate high school or college, do their three years, not get paid very much, then move on. It wouldn't even have to be like South Korea, where if men don't do their 2 years required service in the military, they can't get a job. You could get a job without doing national service, no problem. You could make a fuckload of money right out of college. But you would not be able to participate in choosing elected officials because you don't place a high value on doing your part. Maybe people who stayed on in their "national service" jobs could get pay raises, tax breaks, etc.. I think that after the system was in place for a while, it would be "self propagating' in a way. Maybe being able to vote would be a cool thing; something people would aspire to be able to do. Maybe the general attitude would be, "Well, I did my time, you need to do yours too, punk." Maybe it would motivate people to go out there and earn the privledge to vote. Taking part in the political process would require more than just words or casting a ballot - it would require a person to actually contribute and make sacrifices to assist society, and the act of voting would have a certain amount of credibility and self sacrifice attached to it.
OK, so I'm sure there are people that would read the aforementioned madness and flip-the-freak-out. I'd like to hear reasons why it's fucked up or fascist or blahblahblah. I'm not talking about logistical problems, administrative problems, etc, cuz I know that would be a complete nightmare, especially since if it WERE implemented a lot of people would be looking for ways to get out of it but still maintain the right to vote.