Aaaaaah the good old days!
When the American Foreign Service Association was cost-effectively staffed by the wives and girlfriends of a handful of regular Board members.
When a handful of self-styled Young Turks regularly traded off AFSA Board leadership positions, and their perpetual presence on the Board kept AFSA members' money flowing to the special projects of the one-or-two-or-three-person largely-unknown "academies" and "institutes" founded by their friends.
When these "academies" and "institutes" and the incestuous AFSA awards process catapulted a not-very-remarkable ex-Ambassador to Upper Volta, an even less remarkable ex-Ambassador to Guinea Bissau, a ne'er do well bon vivant whose entire career consisted of dining for years off a single telegram he wrote as an entry-level officer, and their friends, into highly paid consultancies and retainerships as representatives of the Foreign Service.
There is a certain irony in the fact that the Future Forward AFSA slate is so heavily endorsed by three octogenarian 1970's era ambassadors, by their 77-year-old lifetime tagalong wannabe-ambassador friend, and by the former treasurer who ensured, during four terms in AFSA, that their projects got funded every year long after they lost their majority on the Board.
There is equal irony in the fact that one has to count back ten AFSA presidents, to 1997, then 15 more years, to 1972 through 1975, to find the names of the three ex-AFSA presidents who endorse the allegedly forward-leaning role of the Future Forward AFSA Slate.
Not one AFSA President since 1997 endorses Asada's bid for the AFSA Presidency. Importantly, neither of the two Presidents who served with him on an AFSA Board has done so.
No AFSA President since 1997 seems to believe that the Future Forward AFSA Slate is the right slate to lead AFSA in the 21st Century.
There is also a certain irony in their tactics.
AFSA's Instructions to Candidates limit the number of words each candidate or slate may use in statements to their members, both initially, and in subsequent campaign emails. The idea is to create a level playing field.
AFSA members with access to campaign messages can verify that the same octogenarian "Young Turks" are using their quotas of words to endorse the Future Forward AFSA Slate, rather than their own candidacies. To say this clearly, Tex Harris is running for the AFSA Presidency solely in order to expand Matthew Asada's platform by doubling his quota of words.
So much for their claim to the pulpit of ethics.
Why do these 80-something old men who retired from the Foreign Service in the 1980s and 1990s support a 30-something FSO with barely six years of overseas experience to be President of AFSA?
Because, as Tex Harris says: "Matthew Asada gets it." He knows who butters his bread, who lets him sit at the grownup table, and why.
He is, in the eyes of those who have sucked at AFSA's teat for decades, a good investment.
There is an old French curse from the childhood years of Asada's supporters that is both explicit and politically insensitive: "Va te faire encule par un Turk." Make that an octogenarian ex-Young Turk, or his ambitious young protégé, and the Future Forward AFSA Slate seems intent on doing so, for old-timers' sakes, to AFSA's members.