Service may be at the heart of the answer. A year of service has the power to bring young people together from different races, ethnicities, incomes, faiths, and political backgrounds to work on pressing problems facing U.S. society today. In the process, they can build empathy by getting to know each other around something positive—the shared work of participating in a democracy—as they shape their views of their country and the world.
Imagine for a moment a large-scale commitment to offering young Americans who are black and white, rich and poor, Republican and Democrat, and Christian, Jewish, and Muslim opportunities to work side by side, serving their country together. The focus of their service year would be teaching, tutoring, and mentoring disadvantaged students; cleaning neighborhoods in need of renewal; renovating homes in blighted areas; and helping veterans reintegrate into their communities.
Remember my missive about how patriotism manifests in a proposition nation? Here, we have a derivative of that. Service and conscription do not have the connotation of blood and soil nationalism, but the ideological rectitude of our proposition nation’s egalitarian diversitarian polyglot pluralist multiculturalist proposition. To put it another way, McChrystal doesn’t believe that the problem is that we are the victims of an attempt at a hostile forceful takeover, he thinks the problem is that people don’t sufficiently agree with egalitarian ideology. Therefore, he doesn’t want to draft people so they can defend their tribe and land from other hostile tribes from another land, he wants to draft them to force them to adhere to a political doctrine. He’s not drafting their bodies, he’s drafting their brains.