As a vestige of my Foreign Service years, I am a member of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA). AFSA elections are coming up. I confess I don’t usually pay much attention to these things, but this year I am. For one thing, many of the candidates on the “establishment” slate for AFSA office are retirees. Nothing against retirees per se, but a lot of these guys have been retired a loooooooooooooooong time. Like, since back when you could serve your whole diplomatic career in Europe or get someone to take dictation or make it to retirement without doing a consular tour. The other thing that bugs me is that a bunch of them are political officers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but political officers are disproportionately represented in the ranks of the Department’s leadership. I’m not sure that having a bunch of political officers talk to a bunch of political officers is going to do anything good for the working conditions of the rest of the Foreign Service. It hasn’t been terrifically useful so far.
Nope, I’m sure the usual suspects for AFSA office are lovely human beings, but this year I think I will vote for the “CLEAN Slate.” I’ve served with their candidates for President and State Vice President, and I think they have a worthwhile contribution to make to the welfare and interests of the Foreign Service. Their team is diverse in every sense, and they provide a clear vision of what they think AFSA should be doing to support the men and women who represent our country overseas.