As Abraham Lincoln said, "a house divided against itself cannot stand."

Today, America is more divided than it has ever been in my lifetime, and it is being poisoned further by toxic white nationalism. In addition to common-sense gun safety reforms, I believe an antidote to this polarization can be found in national service.

As an AmeriCorps alumni, I worked with a diverse group of parents, students and educators and witnessed firsthand the power of a shared purpose. That’s why I was excited when I heard Mayor Pete Buttigieg wants to expand national service opportunities.

Like Pete, I believe everyone who wants to serve their community — from the Peace Corps to AmeriCorps and everything in between — should be able to do so.

Importantly, Pete’s proposal includes adding a Climate Corps to address the disruptions of climate change. In Davenport we’re all too accustomed with the wrath of the Mighty Miss’ as it bursts into our homes and businesses. These record floods will become more frequent, and if we fail to act, more devastating.

The Climate Corps would be a service opportunity for Quad-Citians to come together as one to create sustainable solutions to this pressing problem. On Aug. 3, staffers for Pete even volunteered across our state, taking action in his call to service. National Service changed my life, and strengthened my community, which is why I support Pete’s plan. It’s time for us to unite as Iowans and Americans and do as Eisenhower suggested by "joining hands in a common purpose."

Josh Brennan


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