Sunday, December 07, 2008
What’s Your Big Idea for Change in America?
President-Elect Obama says he wants to hear ideas from all Americans, so the good people at Change.org are taking him up on his offer. At a newly launched part of their website, you can submit their ideas for how to change America, discuss these ideas with others, and vote for your favorites.
You can vote for as many ideas as you like. After all the voters are in, the "Top 10 Ideas for America" will be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day. Change.org will then build a national campaign to advance each idea in Congress, marshaling the resources of Change.org and their dozens of partner organizations and millions of combined members. This includes organizations as diverse as MySpace, Campus Progress, the Energy Action Coalition, Good, Public Citizen, the SEIU, the ASPCA, and many more.
What's so exciting about this project is that it provides a democratic way for individuals to promote their ideas for how to change this country and bring them to the attention of the new president in a powerfully public manner.
I hope you'll check out the site, and consider voting for my idea, "Expand AmeriCorps!" I also hope you'll consider voting to create a Department of Peace and help support the important efforts of the Student Peace Alliance.
You can check out my idea HERE. I hope it can receive your vote!
Here's why I think this is such an important idea:
Currently, 75,000 Americans every year participate in AmeriCorps programs like City Year, Teach For America, Vista, NCCC, and other essential programs that are providing critical services to needy communities across the country and giving a new generation of young Americans the opportunity to strengthen the civil bonds of our democracy. Even more remarkable is how cheaply this is done; current AmeriCorps funding is less than $900 million a year, total. The benefits of giving Americans a chance to serve their country radically outweigh the costs. In addition, service is a wonderful way to give young people the resources they need to go to college.
President Obama should keep his promise to expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 members a year by immediately pushing to increase its funding, instituting a "health corps" and a "green corps," and giving a major speech in which he personally solicits young people to make a commitment to filling these slots. More than ever, Americans desire the opportunity to serve their country; President Obama must make that a priority immediately.