Could a weekly civic service day foster a more informed, tolerant and engaged electorate?
Citizens often work 40 or more hours a week, sometimes multiple jobs. Opportunity to volunteer for civic causes is often a luxury that competes with work and family priorities during evenings and weekends. Citizens likewise are pressed for time to learn complexities across a range of civic issues.
The risks to democracy due to an uninformed and unengaged electorate are known. Likewise, it may be no coincidence that political discourse appears polarized and gridlocked.
Perhaps it is worth considering why in our society civic service and education are relegated to compete for evening and weekend hours?
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Does a five-day, 40-hour paid workweek promote the general welfare better than a six- or four-day workweek? Would progress toward a more perfect union be better served by encouraging a four-day, 36-hour paid workweek with an eight-hour civic service day, for example?
What if physically and financially able citizens were encouraged to maintain two careers instead of one — a paid career and a civic service career? Perhaps instead of eight full hours of civic service they might also attend civics courses to gain understanding and perspective on contemporary societal issues.
Logistics of implementation certainly need to be addressed but the objective may be worth discussing if for no other reason than to allow ourselves the opportunity to revisit whether our current workweek structure is serving society better than an alternative.