Tuesday, April 26, 2011

DiploPundit: Don't Be a Passhole

DiploPundit says "Don't be a passhole, go vote in the AFSA Elections."

I completely agree.

Don't know what a "passhole" is? According to DiploPundit, that is "someone who opts out of participating in a decision, but then complains bitterly about the outcome."

There are a lot of passholes in the Foreign Service. Although active duty Foreign Service make up more than 63% of the membership of AFSA, we were just 43% of the votes cast in the last election. Retirees are just over 26% of AFSA, but they made up 47% of the last vote.

Your vote matters.

I agree with DiploPundit that retirees should have a voice in the direction of the Foreign Service.
But DiploPundit adds (and I agree):

"..the active members of the Foreign Service, as the largest voting bloc and as the folks who have been repeatedly deployed to warzones, hardship/unaccompanied and dangerous assignments in the last decade, and who will continue to deploy to increasingly challenging assignments in the years ahead -- they need to have their voices heard, in shall we say, more appropriate collective tone of voice.

And-- they won't have their voices heard unless you, the active members, participate in greater number in the process of picking your own representatives.

The Foreign Service has changed in so many ways in the last decade alone. I think candidates who are on active duty, who have served in warzones or hardship assignments, who have specialized skills in management, human resources, and other functional skills, those who have professional spouses navigating unemployment overseas -- those with compelling and recent experiences from the trenches can only add to better representation of the rank and file of the service."

As I said before, I believe strongly that AFSA's President needs to be active duty. The Foreign Service of today is not the Foreign Service of old. We are not all retirees, with some of us just retiring in the future instead of the past. Some of us will leave the service because of the hardships we face. Some of us will leave the service because we don't value training enough. Some of us will leave the service because it does not take care of our needs and the needs of our families.

That is, we will unless we have a "union" that understands not just the needs of the retirees, but also the needs of the active duty Foreign Service.

That is why I voted for Susan Johnson, Daniel Hirsch and the entire slate Susan put forward. (and why I am writing in Mary Glantz, who was on the previous board and is unexpectedly staying in DC for another year). Because I think that despite the nastiness of the last election, this diverse group has worked together and is moving towards a better balance of active duty and retiree needs.

And that is why I hope you will vote, regardless of who you vote for.

So don't be a passhole.

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