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A Constitutional Alternative to the GIVE Act / Service America Act

April 4, 2009

If you have read any of my recent journals, you probably know that I absolutely loathe the so-called “GIVE” Act. Oh don’t get me wrong, I think that community service is a wonderful thing, and that our young people would benefit greatly from volunteering their time to serve others …. I just have a problem with the federal government mandating it, and then telling us that we don’t have a right to protest it.

(I don’t understand why this doesn’t raise a red flag with other Americans).confused

This Act has passed both by the House and the Senate and is awaiting Obama’s (likely) signature. But if you are like me, you are probably wondering what we can do at this point to overcome such a hard-lined law. The States have the right to nullify federal laws if they deem it unconstitutional, under the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution. But I don’t think it will be good enough to simply tell our State Representatives that we don’t like this bill, we must show them the premise of the GIVE Act can be achieved through Constitutional means, and encourage them to enact legislation to replace the GIVE Act at the State level.

Here is what I suggest:

The (superficial) purpose of the GIVE Act, is to instill a sense of unity between the people and their community. It is meant to teach young people about the value of caring for those less fortunate, and it gives benefit to those who follow through with it. But this bill is seriously flawed; you can only promote cheerful giving by encouraging, and not coercing or forcing, a person to give. Cheerfulness isn’t something that can be memorized and regurgitated like next week’s book report; there are no cliffs notes, no cheat sheets. The character that is required for cheerful giving lays deep in the soul, and only an individual can bring that loving attitude to the surface.

Instead of FORCING this on students, why don’t we tell our school districts to be active in encouraging it?

You cannot force a person to do volunteering; involuntary volunteering is an oxymoron and it defeats the purpose of service. (In the military we fondly refer to this as being “voluntold.”) Not only is this a contradiction in terms, but it also violates the 1st and 13th Amendments (don’t agree with me, take it to my other journal).

Here is what I suggest ….

Every person out there should call up their State Representatives and

  1. Tell them that you believe the GIVE Act violates liberties protected by the United States Constitution, and
  2. Offer them this alternative ….

Require the school districts to offer at least two means of promoting community service to their student bodies. At least one extra-curricular activity/association that promotes leadership through community service, and then a “Community Service” elective which would earn them credit towards graduation.

Now there are already extra-curricular associations that are commited to community service, Kiwanis’ Key Club is one, so this step shouldn’t be difficult. If you have never heard of Key Club, you can check out the link provided to their website, but I have also posted their list of objectives here:

  • To develop initiative and leadership.
  • To provide experience in living and working together.
  • To serve the school and community.
  • To cooperate with the school principal.
  • To prepare for useful citizenship.
  • To accept and promote the following ideals:
    • To give primacy to the human and spiritual, rather than to the material values of life.
    • To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships.
    • To promote the adoption and application of higher standards in scholarship, sportsmanship, and social contacts.
    • To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive, and serviceable citizenship.
    • To provide a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render unselfish service, and to build better communities.
    • To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism which makes possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism, and good will.

The extra-curricular organization can teach students (if it isn’t doing so already) how to run their own non-profit organization; the business side of it, the advertising, the money-handling; etc. Then the school can offer a voluntary, for-credit elective to the student body so that they can have the choice to work for this student-led non-profit as a volunteer. They will accumulate community service hours, learn what it means to volunteer and serve others, earn credit towards graduation, add it to their showcase for college entrance applications and essays …. the benefits are no doubt innumerable, but the point is the student actually volunteers to do this.

So what about those students who choose not to volunteer? Well, that means that they have one less thing to show case for college recruits, they have one less experience that will make them a better a person, they will have earn their needed credits through a boring lecture-style class … but guess what, they will not have their liberty to do so, violated.

It would be so nice to see everyone in a community cheerfully chipping in, but the reality is that this just doesn’t happen. People need to be free to choose, and America has proven throughout its history that free people help their communities more than enslaved people. We don’t do it because we are bound to a moral code (or a government instituted code), we do it because that is what the American Spirit is about; voluntarily being a part of the community.

If you like this idea, then please write your State Representatives and tell them that you want them nullify the GIVE Act, and implement this Constitutional alternative. If you are in any of the following states, be sure to forward it also to people who are supporting State Sovereignty:

States That Have Had Sovereignty Action Within the Last Year or So:
– Arizona (AZ):
[CLICK HERE and HERE]
– South Dakota (SD): [CLICK HERE – 3/5/09 Passed, YEAS 20, NAYS 14]  *NEW*

States That Have Had Sovereignty Action Within the Last 20 Years:
*** NOTE*** These states need NEW legislature – this info is for reference only.

– California (CA): [CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO and HERE]
– Colorado (CO): [CLICK HERE for bill text – HERE for the scan]
– Louisiana (LA): [CLICK HERE – §26]
– Utah (UT): [CLICK HERE and search for HJR003 or HERE for a pdf]


States Claiming Sovereignty:
– Alaska (AK): [CLICK HERE*NEW*
– Georgia (GA): [CLICK HERE]
– Hawaii (HI): [General info: HERE or HERE — SCOTUS Case: HERE & HERE and HERE or HERE for summary]
– Indiana (IN): [CLICK HERE]
– Iowa (IA): [CLICK HERE and more info HERE]
– Kansas (KS): [CLICK HERE for bill text – hearing date set for approx. 03/04!]
– Kentucky (KY): [CLICK HERE and HERE]
– Michigan (MI): [CLICK HERE (HCR No. 4)]
– Minnesota (MN): [CLICK HERE – more info HERE and HERE]
– Mississippi (MS): [CLICK HERE and more info HERE*NEW*
– Missouri (MO):
[CLICK HERE]
– Montana (MT): [CLICK HERE]
– Oklahoma (OK): [CLICK HERE for HJR1003 and HERE for SJR10]
– Oregon (OR): [CLICK HERE*NEW*
– New Mexico (NM): [CLICK HERE & HERE for old petition]
– South Carolina (SC): [CLICK HERE]
– Tennessee (TN): [CLICK HERE or HERE]
– Texas (TX): [THIS WEBSITE has good Republic of Texas info & bill text HERE, HERE, and HERE]
– Virginia (VA): [CLICK HERE and STATUS —  on hold until next session in April]  *NEW*

This fight isn’t over yet!

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