The next fiscal budget has the Peace Corps receiving an 8% increase which, I’m told, puts the agency “on the path” to having 10,000 Volunteers in the field by 2016.
That got me thinking of a letter that then Director Mark Gearan sent to all the RPCV groups and PCVs back on January 8, 1998.
In the first line of Mark’s letter, he wrote: “I am delighted to inform you that President Clinton has announced an initiative to expand the Peace Corps to 10,000 Volunteers by the year 2000.”
He (the President) was going to do this by increasing the budget to $48 million, or 21 %, “next year (1999) to put the agency on the path toward this important goal.”
Attached to that letter in my files are articles that appeared shortly after that announcement in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Denver Post, Seattle Times, plus columns by David Broder, Mark McGrory, all in praise of President Clinton’s plan for the Peace Corps.
Broder wrote:, “Credit President Clinton for at least one initiative that has received warm praise in both parties and reflects well on this nation around the world.” (italics mine)
It is amazing how history keeps repeating itself, and the agency keeps seeking that magic number of 10k.
It reminds me of the last line of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
In other words: We’ll never get to that shore!