July 27, 2004: Teresa Heinz Kerry comments on Peace Corps Volunteers

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: July 27, 2004: Teresa Heinz Kerry comments on Peace Corps Volunteers
 Peace Corps: One of the Best Faces of America Peace Corps: One of the Best Faces of America
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and can you come up with a Political Funny?

By William M. Grothus (cache-dtc-aa07.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 8:57 pm: Edit Post

Mrs. Kerry notes that the Peace Corps has compassion. That is true but her speech is just that a speech for she has no compassion. This is reflected in her promotion for killing the unborn. It is WRONG to kill a child in the womb. You have to hate to kill a child and this hate nullifys any compassion you may have or think you have.

William M. Grothus RPCV PI

By John W Strain III (jwstrain) (bgp01050142bgs.southg01.mi.comcast.net - on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 10:25 pm: Edit Post

She is a rich user jerk of the first ordre.

By Ron Dirkse (61-21-60-29.home.ne.jp - on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 3:02 am: Edit Post

Why such negativity? Are you saying the PC is NOT one of the best things America has ever done? What does this have to do with abortion and riches? Is America really that divided?

Ron Dirkse
American School in Japan
Nigeria XI (1964)

By CR Gardner ( on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 7:26 am: Edit Post

These are the opinions of two people with political agendas, nothing more. Period. Who really cares or listens? They are both are correct in the narrow confines of their one-way communication. There is no discourse here. Why even bother us with this drivel?

By maureen crossey (h-66-134-147-226.cmbrmaor.covad.net - on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 9:14 am: Edit Post

I think Teresa is the most fabulous woman to step into the national/international spotlight in many many years. Even if I didn't agree with all of her views I'd still be cheering for her! Her intelligence, courage, integrity and wit speak for themselves. How wonderful that American women could have a sixty something immigrant speak for us and to us! I havn't been this excited about a political event since JFK inspired me to join the Peace Corps in ...gasp...1963!!!! another sixty something woman for the Kerrys! Maureen (toni) Crossey Columbia Xl 63-66

By Kevin Cronk (mail.watershedcouncil.org - on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:29 am: Edit Post

How many faces of America are present in the international arena and more precisely, the developing world? US military, Peace Corps, foreign service and the sporadic occurrence of ex-pats and business world...? And which face is best? Depends on the face.

Regarding this comment:
"In addition, her celebration of the Peace Corps volunteer, as the great American face, was truly offensive. Everyone loves the Peace Corps volunteer certainly every liberal. But the Peace Corps volunteer doesn't liberate Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Europe, or any other place. It's the soldier. He does the hard and awful work of making it possible for the Peace Corps volunteer to show up."

Avoiding the issue of whether the military has truly liberated places like Afghanistan and Iraq, I would argue that the positive face of Peace Corps volunteers is continually healing wounds inflicted by misguided, aggressive and often unneeded actions of the military. As many volunteers come to realize during their service, Peace Corps is a powerful political machine in itself to improve perceptions of the US by citizens of other countries and essentially regain the trust that was lost during one of any number of US imperialist blunders.

By Ellen Burke-Montgomery (as3-216-68-42-218.fuse.net - on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:35 am: Edit Post

I think America has more than one "face," just because we are such a diverse nation. The Peace Corps volnteer is indeed one of the faces of america. The soldier is another. And yes, both of them can be compassionate, as well as patriotic, and loving, and stern. We have the black, the white, the Hispanic, the Asian, the Native American and ...- and there is no way to boil us all in a pot and make us just "one." Our melting pot is diverse and proud. I expect Mr. Kerry's lovely wife says what they tell her to say, to push the buttons they want her to push. Peace Corps is necessary (Thai '35), but someone has to do the other dirty work for us, too. Our volunteers AND our soldiers are heroes. They are the many faces of America.

By Lisa Downey ( on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 12:33 pm: Edit Post

I find the National Review to "truly offensive".

By Charlotte Ireland ( on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 1:25 pm: Edit Post

I think the writer of the National Review article misses the point. I too, support the troops but realistically, a soldier in my back yard on patrol from a foreign country would not represent "the best face" of that country to me. For that reason alone, we must truly respect, honor and be grateful for their service and sacrifice - they are usually unwanted in the country they serve.
Peace Corps volunteers represent "the best face" in foreign countries because no matter on what political side one stands, it is hard to disagree that we as Americans would rather be symbolized by a messenger of peace and partnership than by one of upheaval and conflict.

My opinion of the writer of that National Review article, just another blow hard and I have met so many on both sides of the fence.

By marvin clede (hide.hctx.net - on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 2:54 pm: Edit Post

The NR writer uses unfortunate language in reference to the Peace Corps. Truly the face of volunteers is one "best face" of our country's government sponsored interface with other cultures. However, the circumstances of the other countries may not warrant the presence of PC volunteers. Such was the case with both Afghanistan and Iraq during the current administration, and especially after 9-11.

Saddam Hussein was patently seen worldwide as an iron-fisted tyrant who did not hesitate to torture and kill to preserve his family and party's rule, using lethal gas and disgusting torture methods. Any pretense of approaching that "culture" with PC style approach or "face" was unimaginable. If you will go beyond the predictably leftist "standard" news media, you would see that much more good is going on than the highly publicized bad incidents. I heard first hand in my church two weeks ago about the numerous schools being re-constructed with the assistance of US military in Kurdish areas, that were not deemed useful by the Saddam regime.

That is only one example, others are discussed on the internet. Yes, you could call those "peace corps" style faces on US GI's helping NGO's do the work of rebuilding society for the Iraqi people.

The US military needed to intervene, as even John Kerry acknowledged in his original Senate vote. The disorganization and weakness of the new government is to be expected, and will be diminished over time and with support of the community of nations as over against the terrorists worldwide.

We can have both, the Peace Corps where appropriate, the US military when terrorists and circumstances bring situations to a flash point.

Marvin Clede, Registered Architect
RPCV - Tunisia 1975-77

By Don Briddell (adsl-141-157-140-13.ba-dsg.net - on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 3:00 pm: Edit Post

This is a awesome women on the national/international scene. She has heart soul and head all together and focused on the big picture. I hope we get to hear lots more of her and her voice in world consciousness.

By rotumatom (cache-dtc-aa07.proxy.aol.com - on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 3:55 pm: Edit Post

At least Teresa Heinz Kerry has an opinion, unlike the Senator who is on both sides of most Issues. Howard Dean was the real deal.

Tom Bliss Fiji 75-76

By Teresa Kaltenbacher (ca15-ch01-bl01.fl-miami0.sa.earthlink.net - on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 6:54 pm: Edit Post

Makes me wonder whether Buckley, and the National Review "journalists" et al. have ever volunteered for anything in their lives...and I'm sure they don't think this bogus "war on terror" is "truly offensive" as I do...

Why do some of the insecure among us feel positively outraged and threatened when an intelligent multi-lingual woman steps up with something to say anyway? She certainly has more to say than her fence-sitting husband, which is why I'm voting for Ralph Nader, someone with a platform that stands for real social justice, one step at a time.

By Ella Lacey (dsc02-cir-oh-204-32-79-66.rasserver.net - on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 7:07 pm: Edit Post

I was elated to hear Teresa Heinz Kerry's remarks about the America's "face" as presented by the PC volunteer. I did experience a little jolt when she described it as "young", as I was one who experienced my 55th birthday on my first day in-country for my PC stint; maybe "young at heart", "fresh in spirit" or would have done it. Anyway, she didn't reference the military nor did I make a mental comparison - not until I read the NR comment. Now I think: Peace Corps is to Military as Public Health is to Medicine. When a choice is available, I will opt for the preventive side of either. When it's not, I realize that one or the other may be more appropriate according to the situation. The context of her remarks about the face of PC was very appropriate for that situation.

Ella Lacey, Malawi, 95-97

By Raymond T Donaldson (pcp07427017pcs.howard01.md.comcast.net - on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 11:54 pm: Edit Post

This comment that "the Peace Corps volunteer doesn't liberate Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Europe, or any other place. It's the soldier. He does the hard and awful work of making it possible for the Peace Corps volunteer to show up" indicates a world view that glorifies and exaggerates the power of the military. After spending two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I came home, got drafted, and spent a year with the First Infantry Division in Vietnam. My experience is that Peace Corps Volunteers and all who interact at the grassroots level with people of other cultures are one of our greatest hopes of preventing wars and creating a world of peace and justice. Alvin Toffler in his book "Power Shift" says that military violence is the most primitive form of power. Economic power is an improvement, but the greatest power is the power of education, compassion, and love.

Ray Donaldson, Ethiopia 62-64

By Steve Silver (user-24-214-179-245.knology.net - on Saturday, February 25, 2006 - 12:16 pm: Edit Post

It's really strange to reread what the National Review had to say negatively about the speech, given recent events. Two examples:

"But the Peace Corps volunteer doesn't liberate Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Europe, or any other place. It's the soldier. He does the hard and awful work of making it possible for the Peace Corps volunteer to show up."

When do they believe we will be sending PCVs to Iraq now?

"Mrs. Kerry also indicated membership in the 'No blood for oil!' crowd, saying that 'alternative fuels will guarantee that not only will no American boy or girl go to war because of our dependence on foreign oil, but also . . .'

Can the Republicans make nothing of that?"

And just who NOW, in his State of the Union address, is advocating alternative fuels? Frustration makes strange bedfellows.

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