So lately I have noticed a lot of bizarre references to Public Allies in the blogosphere. Barack and Michelle Obama were involved with the Chicago program, so it’s pretty obvious the attacks have been politically motivated.
For example, one blogger referred to Public Allies participants as a “band of taxpayer-supported social misfits.” Another says of the program: “its real mission is to radicalize American youth and use them to bring about ‘social change’ through threats, pressure, tension and confrontation….” According to one, the national service program is connected to a “boot camp for radicals who hate the military.”
So after coming across so many offensive references to Public Allies (a group that has co-sponsored our Idealist.org graduate admissions fairs for several years), I am glad to see this note in the Chronicle of Philanthropy‘s web site shedding some light on the attacks. For more information, read the fact sheet Public Allies posted on its site about its relationship with the Obamas.
Participants in national service programs are prohibited from taking part in political activity during service hours or while wearing the AmeriCorps logo. Here is a good summary of other prohibited activities for AmeriCorps from the Serve Illinois web site. Further, people of all political backgrounds are inspired to become involved in their communities and take part in national service.
The conversation about the Service Nation Summit this week has been forcefully nonpartisan, people of all political ideologies will be involved with the event, and Summit volunteers have been encouraged to keep the conversation neutral. I get it that people who are in favor of smaller government resent the notion of government-funded volunteer programs, but I regret the tone these blogs are taking against citizen service.