A few interesting links:
1) The first ever national summit on service is being held in NYC. [I blogged on that earlier.] Last night that featured a Town Hall interview of Judy Woodruff (PBS) and Richard Stengel (TIME) with Barack Obama and John McCain. Read the Obama-McCain transcript on service here. (McCain was even asked about our research on diversity and the strains it puts on social capital, although my colleague Robert Putnam, eminent political scientist, was misidentified as a sociologist.) The snippet was:
STENGEL: Robert Putnam, the sociologist, has written about how in communities that are diverse, there’s actually less social capital, less trust. What can national service do to knit up America? And I’m sorry, we only have one minute left for such a complicated question.
MCCAIN: National service can do a great deal. National service can unite us, just as the military unite us, as we meet people and interface with people from all over the world.
But also let me say, look, the greatest thing that makes America exceptional is we have had wave after wave of people come to this country for the same reason — they want to build a better life, they wanted freedom and they want to be part of America. So I don’t accept that premise that somehow — some of the most patriotic Americans that I’ve ever seen and the hardest working and most ready to serve this country and go in harm’s way are those who just came here.
2) TIME magazine: cover story on national service (“The Candidates Stump For Service”). TIME also has 21 ideas for serving America, including a mini-essay by me on importance of service in creating a new us (what I originally entitled: ‘Social Alchemy: Walls Into Bridges’.) You can also see TIME Managing Editor’s cover note about national service and some essays by McCain (“Inspiring Citizens to do More”) and Obama’s “A Call To Service”.
3) An interesting Op-Ed by David Brooks in today’s NYT on the fact that the Republican Party is missing the importance of social interconnections, what social scientists and the Saguaro Seminar calls ‘social capital.’ See Brooks’ “The Social Animal” here.