Who do you think is paying your way?

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: May 16, 2003 - The Nation: Protest at the Peace Corps : Who do you think is paying your way?

By laura mcclure on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:25 am: Edit Post

like it or not, you are a government employee. when you swore in, you took the same oath as other government employees, and when you picked up your stipend every month, it was because you furthered U.S. foreign policy goals by your presence in whatever host country you were in. this is reality, and it should not be upsetting. there is no such thing as unbridled altruism in U.S. foreign policy. PCVs may live independent lives, but you are still there because our government thinks it's a good idea.

of course you have a right to protest. but, being a government employee, you also have the right to be fired for misrepresenting the peace corps. peace corps presence in most countries is small enough compared to general american population there as to be really obvious when a lot of PCVs get together, for protest or party or whatever. what's ironic to me is that the protest in DR wasn't "stifled" -- it was cancelled, due to lack of general interest and committment. you can always protest. it just wasn't worth the potential cost to the people who failed to show up.

welcome to reality, folks.

By macodell on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 3:18 pm: Edit Post

Sorry, Laura, but you haven't read Peace Corps history or the Executive Order that formed it... Peace Corps is not an arm of US Foreign Policy and stands for the basic core values of our US Democracy.. I suggest you go back and read that Executive Order, and while you're at it, read the Declaration of Independence and preamble to our Constitution and then honor, instead of smearing, those noble volunteers who stand up for our nation's principles. As one who joined the PC in 1962 during Kennedy Admin. I think I bring some perspective to this debate and I'm ashamed of the muddied thinking and shameful pseudo patriotism that folks like you represent. We are fighting in Iraq for democratic principles, for free speech, for free press, and the right to speak out. Get real, Laura, get real. This is the US, not the USSR!

By laura mcclure on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 3:38 pm: Edit Post

actually, 1962 is when it was most obvious that we PCVs were tools of the government. if you go back and read Kennedy's speech at U. of Michigan, which was largely inspired by "The Ugly American", it's quite clear that we were there to fight the Cold War on a nice PR kind of front. The USSR also had volunteers out there, and we were their foils in Africa and elsewhere.

of course i honor volunteers; i was one. peace corps is a meaningful and worthwhile endeavor. but i do believe people should enter peace corps with open eyes rather than false pieties. yes, the peace corps stands for the basic core values of our U.S. democracy, but so does our foreign policy in general. not all of our core values are good ones.

By Khutso on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 5:56 pm: Edit Post

According to US Code 22:34 2501 & 2504: “the Peace Corps is an independent agency within the executive branch” and “volunteers shall not be deemed officers or employees or otherwise in the service or employment of, or holding office under, the United States for any purpose.” I think Volunteers would be fired for different reasons than protesting such as maybe being away from their site or inciting ill-will towards George Bush. If I got fired for what I thought was a serious enough personal issue I’d be thinking who the heck’s head is gonna be on a platter in the form of a lawsuit. Peace Corps isn’t what it used to be, and that’s (un)fortunate.

I served deep in Africa and whether anyone likes it or not since I was so far from PCHQ I could have been another Kurtz for all anyone knew. So why should they care if I protested anything? I wonder if anyone sees any connection between “Heart of Darkness” and “The Ugly American”.

I agree that a PCV should have open eyes, but what’s so wrong about false pieties during an age of questionable leadership and misunderestimated motives. False piety is all the better for an empire our volunteer citizens feel helpless to change. By the way, I think “A Nation of Sheep” by Lederer is fairly apropos for our nation of bush-hugging, bush league, suv-driving philistines. Maybe gov’t should read that and get infected with that bug. Anyway, sorry for the rant just thought I might…

By Robert Ross on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 11:41 pm: Edit Post

One Voice:
I was in Peru IV in 62-64. We protested USAID policy of impact projects but used them. My friends in the DR protested the US invasion to stop the efforts of workers who were promoting unionism and those protests of unfair labor practices, which was stopped by the Marines in 64-65. That invasion maintained the status quo of the powers at be. The PCV's protested and tried to intervene to instruct the US Forces that they were on the wrong side. But the US State Department and those in the DR opposed to surrendering their power and wealth to workers ruled the day again. If you supported human rights you were labeled Communist, sympathizer or out with you on a psycho charge. And again in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile. Workers & peoples rights to a living wage, health benefits for their families, self determination be dammed, maintain the status quo. So, they pay my way. They do not buy my soul. Not my words. Those of a greater power tell us:
"Beware, ye shall reap what ye sow."

By Anonymous (102-186-58-66.gci.net - on Sunday, June 04, 2006 - 8:44 pm: Edit Post

you guys are all really nerdy, and did not help me with my debate. nerds.

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