Much of government is invisible to most Americans, but it is still vital. America needs people to devise a policy toward Brazil, prosecute drug dealers, buy weapons for the Army and administer Social Security, among many other tasks that are not glamorous but make a tangible difference in the lives of many Americans.
Even for more political and controversial issues, like policy on immigration or on Syria, political leaders need advice from professionals. Although Mr. Trump and his associates usually listen to expert advice in the breach, they do listen at least occasionally. The United States is still in NAFTA despite Mr. Trump’s hostility to free-trade agreements. Even more surprisingly, a president who once declared American efforts in Afghanistan a “total disaster” and said “my original instinct was to pull out” ended up increasing the military presence there in response to arguments made by military and defense officials
Young people in particular should serve. Most would begin with minor duties, with many buffers between them and the president. Even if they disagree with Mr. Trump’s policies, they need to learn the craft of government and will serve important roles in future administrations. Their value will come in 10 or 20 years when, as seasoned professionals themselves, they counsel presidents and implement their policies more effectively. If they don’t serve, over time our government will become hollow.