Peter Norback, founder of the Rescued Critters Food Drive, en route to collecting money, pet food and supplies in the Miles eighborhood.

The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.

The following is a response to an op-ed published in the Washington Post by Republican Rep. Justin Amash regarding his renunciation of his GOP membership.

Dear Mr. Amash,

Arnold Schwarzenegger tells a similar story about choosing the Republican Party when he saw the words, “limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty” on a TV in his hotel room soon after he arrived in America. Yet he was (is) more attracted to the Kennedy clan deeds.


I know the consternation you are feeling right now and I empathize. But no matter how much you think about pushing humans in a productive direction you must understand that the first thing we teach our babies is to share, which they wouldn’t do otherwise if we did not insist.

We save about half of the babies by teaching them this lesson.

What you witnessed in Congress is the other half who failed their lesson.

If you still want to follow the frustrating path you’ve been on, that is your choice. If you want to make a significant change, think about standardizing (monetizing) community service as we have standardized (monetized) the high school diploma and the college degree.

Currently many businesses, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions request and often require applicants to demonstrate involvement in community service. Empirical data suggests kids active in community service make better students and better employees. The University of Arizona requires 40 hours of community service for graduation. However, none of the information provided by students is verified.

Humans, as you have obviously observed in congress, take shortcuts when there is little or no accountability. That is why I suggest we standardized community service as we have standardized our educational certificates and diplomas. In the long run, we will have better kids, teens, adults and seniors. And businesses, by simply asking for a standardized community service certificate that takes years to earn, will help mend America’s waning empathy.

Just Google “The Magic of Community Service.” I promise you won’t be disappointed again.

Peter Norback founded the One Can A Week community food donation program and currently runs the Rescued Critters Food Drive at the Pima Animal Care Center.