Clamshell Generation

The computer and the telephone have alienated an entire generation. It is impossible to look at America today without wondering what has caused this tremendous division in the country. And what is the division? 

It seems as though a generation of people have grown up without having any real connection to the society in which they live. Their attachment is to their computers, their telephones, and to an ever-narrowing landscape world. They observe but they don’t participate. That seems to be a large part of the younger generation. Another part of the population are the people who are hostile, angry, and don’t seem to really understand what is happening in the world. They don’t seem to understand the relationship between aiding the Ukraine to continue the war against Putin – war that has kept Putin from invading NATO countries, and which so far has kept America out of World War III. 

Ever since the end of the Vietnam War, Americans have not been involved in any public service. There has been no draft. It may be that the only thing that can save this country is to reinstitute the draft. People can choose to serve in the military – the Army, Navy, or Air Force – or they can choose to serve in some form of Peace Corps abroad. 

Years ago, Helen Parkhurst, who is the founder of the Dalton School, one of the most advanced, progressive schools in the Nation, was totally committed to the idea that everyone as they graduate high school should serve for 2 years in some form of public service before going to college. Today, this idea seems more necessary than ever. 

Public service gives people a sense of commitment and exposure to the needs of other people and other societies, a camaraderie, and ultimately helps solve the problem of racial inequality and the commitment to racial integration. When people all work for a common cause, they recognize the commonality of their interests and their humanity, and they recognize the common needs. It also helps them to find a way to do something constructive towards solving social problems. 

In other countries in the world today, everybody serves. America is one of the very few countries that does not have a commitment to public service. It seems as though this may be a partial cause of some of the divisions in the country.

A draft gives a person many different possibilities to serve in whatever way they choose. The important thing is to be involved, and to be part of the social action that shapes and defines the direction of a country. It makes you a participant. The point is that this is a generation that sits by and watches the world go by.

Perhaps the social problem today and the division in this society is related to the lack of connection that public service provides. Everyone is living in their own little shell.