ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Injustice! Look Up 'Volunteer' in Webster's

Updated on November 11, 2018
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU 1963. Worked in NYC in public relations 2 years then as reporter/news editor 32 years at The Hour newspapers. Retired in 2000.

A Well-intentioned Politician

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. | Source

A Modern Public Housing Project

My dictionary defines a "volunteer" as one who "offers himself for a service of his own free will."

Congress, despite this, may be about to adopt a new form of Orwellian doublespeak by forcing certain occupants of public housing to volunteer to perform community service for as many as eight hours a month.

Convicted criminals are often ordered to perform community service in lieu of jail time. Maybe there's nothing wrong with that -- I'm not so sure -- but imposing the same sentence on residents of public housing is a travesty.

Congressional Oxymoron

Worse, under proposed federal legislation, public housing tenants would face eviction from their homes if they should fail to perform the required voluntary service (the oxymoron can be attributed to Congress, not this writer.)

All this is proposed under the guise that it is reasonable to demand that people who benefit from public housing give something back to their community.

The truth is that people in public housing are the same as anyone else (unless being poor disqualifies a person from being a good citizen.) Their poverty may, to some extent, limit their ability to make significant contributions to society, but many wealthy people make little or no contribution to society despite their affluence.

Millions of Americans -- rich and poor -- receive government benefits in one form or another. Public housing residents are only a tiny percentage of those who may be viewed, by some, as having an obligation to pay back society for its largesse.

Thinly Veiled Assault on the Poor

The effort by Congress to place this burden on public housing residents is nothing more than a thinly veiled, direct assault on the poor and downtrodden, primarily by right wing elements.

Some of those who are targets of the proposed legislation have gone so far as to say there's racism at its core, and implementation of the idea would make slaves of those in public housing. We should all hope that racism is not in the minds of the proposers.

Abominable Ideas

We can discuss the pros and cons of this issue 'til the cows come home -- although I fail to see anything positive about the proposal -- but the sad truth is that we should not even be discussing these abominable ideas.

Even well-meaning people like Rep. Jesse Jackson of Chicago are talking about exemptions of employed people, the elderly, the disabled and children -- instead of taking a strong stand against the whole concept.

Incredible HUD Proposal

It's difficult to believe, but, according to the Associated Press, even the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has developed its own proposal along the same general lines. HUD was created to help low income people, not to make slaves of them.

On top of that, some people are trying to link the proposal to President Clinton's recent summit and effort to promote voluntarism in the United States. VVoluntarism and enforced community service are two different things.

There's no such thing as mandatory charity, and no such thing as forcing people to volunteer.

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on June 7, 1997. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages.

Should Public Housing Residents Ever Be Forced to Volunteer?

See results

U.S. Rep. Jesse L. Jackson: 'A More Perfect Union'


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)