‘DAY OF SERVICE’ UNCONTROVERSIAL AFTER ALL…. President Obama observed a moment of silence at the White House this morning at precisely 8:46 a.m., alongside nearly 200 White House staffers. Soon after, he spoke at a Pentagon ceremony, vowing, “In defense of our nation, we will never waver.”
The AP report noted how the president spent the rest of this morning.
Following the ceremony, the president and first lady, along with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, greeted the families.
Obama issued a proclamation earlier this week urging Americans to mark the anniversary of the attacks with community service. After leaving the Pentagon, the president and first lady toured a Habitat for Humanity housing development in Washington and pitched in by painting a living room.
It reminded me that just a few weeks ago, designating Sept. 11 as a “National Day of Service” was deemed scandalous in some right-wing circles. The American Spectator ran a piece arguing that encouraging Americans to volunteer some of their time is part of a “cynical, coldly calculated political effort to erase the meaning of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks from the American psyche and convert Sept. 11 into a day of leftist celebration and statist idolatry.” The piece added that a National Day of Service is evidence of “nihilistic liberals … planning to drain 9/11 of all meaning.”
Around the same time, some high-profile far-right bloggers accused the president of trying to “desecrate” 9/11 by encouraging Americans to volunteer in their communities, including some who argued the president was calling for “mandatory civilian service” as part of Obama’s drive to build “his civilian army.”
I’m curious, was all of this just temporary outrage? An attempted manufactured “controversy” that just never materialized? I haven’t heard much in the way of complaining this week, and Fox News doesn’t seem to have done much on this front.
Are “National Days of Service” politically acceptable to the right now? We can hope.