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National Service: Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Public Happiness

FDR created the Civilian Conservation Corps, JFK the Peace Corps and Bill Clinton, AmeriCorps, Bush set about creating USA Freedom Corps (concerned with eveything except freedom to pursue your own happiness).

Ariana Huffington in National Service: The Ultimate Shovel-Ready Infrastructure Project, quotes John Bridgeland, the former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President George W. Bush:

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson expressed our right to the pursuit of happiness. But he was not simply referring to the right to pursue personal, momentary pleasure fueled by a culture of material goods. The happiness to which he was referring was the right to build a prosperous life within a strong and vibrant community. The happiness of which he wrote was the public happiness. [!!!]

She goes on…

The Founders, writes Bridgeland, “understood that such sacrifices and work were necessary to bind the country together, as well as unleash a market of talent and compassion to address social needs and keep society functioning.” So it was the act of giving back, of service, of civic engagement that literally helped build and unite this huge new experiment of a country of disparate parts and races and languages. And, correspondingly, it’s the diminution of that spirit that’s behind the feeling so many have that the country is coming apart, hopelessly polarized and no longer indivisible.

[...]  “Our generation wants to push and dream for something big,” Matthew Segal, co-founder of Our Time, a national advocacy group for young people, told Amanda Terkel, “and few policies make more sense than allowing idealistic young Americans to serve their country via nursing, teaching, disaster relief, park restoration, and infrastructure repair.” It’s about both a very necessary paycheck and a sense of purpose in life.