I was planning to write an eloquent and reasoned response to Rick Perry’s statements about the Foreign Service … but I got too worked up just thinking about it to actually form my thoughts into coherent sentences.
Luckily, another State Department blogger did it for me. If I may quote liberally:
I’m guessing our pal Rick Perry hasn’t actually met a Foreign Service officer before. But he probably knows there aren’t a whole lot of them out there (I’m told it is still true that there are more military band members than there are FSOs). Since there aren’t a lot of FSOs, maybe he figures it’s okay to insult the whole lot of them – after all, even if every single one of us votes against him, we don’t have enough votes to collectively guarantee a loss for him. And here’s the kicker: if he somehow manages to pull off a victory, those very same Foreign Service officers whom he just mindlessly insulted will stand up and support his policies across the globe.
Because that’s what the Foreign Service is about. Diplomats support American ideals in every country across the globe, often at great risk to themselves and their families. Diplomats (and their boss, the Secretary of State) don’t set their own policies. Rather, they serve as boots on the ground, the eyes and ears of the President in every corner of the globe. Diplomats report back what they see and hear and think in these countries that Rick Perry has probably never considered visiting. They present the facts – and yes, they present their own educated opinions – so that our President has the information he needs to create and direct policy. Once the President decides on policy, these same diplomats work to advance his agenda. Not their own agendas, mind you. Never their own agendas.
Thank you, Donna, for this beautiful defense of FSOs. I agree with every word.