A Public Service for the Twenty-First Century
Participation in political campaigns for office or causes and entrance into careers in government departments are the most obvious avenues for public service. The public servant of the twenty-first century, Ambassador Robert M. Sayre concluded, will be expected to have a broader perspective and be more knowledgeable of relationships with and among our neighbors. A discouraging characteristic in our nation’s public life is not demagoguery by so many unprincipled leaders who prey on the body politic, but by the number of otherwise intelligent people who are so susceptible to it, so ripe for exploitation. Education cannot escape a major share of the responsibility for the decline of interest in public affairs and for the shameful levels of illiteracy and “functional illiteracy” among our population. The National Service Act of 1993, initiated by President Clinton, is a modest but valiant step to meet the objective.