I’m writing this column while trying to watch the historic impeachment inquiry hearings. It’s Nov. 13, and this first hearing is especially poignant for me because I am the daughter of a career foreign service officer who served his country in consulates and embassies around the world for 25 years.
Raised in a small rural town in Idaho, he had a wanderlust and an intellect that fit perfectly with the expectations placed by the state department on its foreign service officers in post-WWII Europe. Luckily, both my parents lived through the Great Depression because government salaries were low and Europe was in post-war survival mode.
My mother learned French cuss words haggling in the Paris open-air markets before she ever learned proper French. She darned socks, made our clothes on a small portable Singer sewing machine and even learned to make her own hats. The point is there are compromises and sacrifices made when you work for the state department.
Keeping your personal political views to yourself and putting your country first is a concept clearly understood by foreign service officers and their families. When Vice President Nixon came on a diplomatic tour while we were stationed in Germany, Dad found him unlikable and crude. But he painstakingly explained to me that he worked for our country, not any one president or vice president. The president is just passing through and the job of civil servants is to keep the government working smoothly while administrations come and go.
All the diplomats that will be testifying in these open hearings have devoted their professional lives to this country. They are representing the thousands of other non-military officers serving in consulates and embassies around the world. Those unarmed men and women are the head of the spear in terms of preventing political situations that could become actual military conflicts. They are cut from the same cloth as Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who died in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. The same Republicans trying to discredit George Kent and Bill Taylor previously considered Stevens such a hero, they held days of hearings investigating his death. Let’s give all our diplomats that same level of respect as they try to rise above the pettiness of politics to provide their testimony.
The second spotlight at these hearings is on the elected members of the House of Representatives. Big reveal: I am biased. I am very proud of Representative Adam Schiff and the other Democrats who participated in the first day of inquiry. I even liked Joaquin Castro’s beard. I will leave it to the Republicans to find something to admire in their committee members. All I can say is that I was puzzled over Devin Nunes incoherence and fascinated with Jim Jordan’s rapid-fire squirrel talk.
The significant thing for me this month is that all of these representatives started their careers in their hometowns, becoming civic leaders, running for city or county offices or working on political campaigns. They entered politics at this time of year – the filing period.
In Texas, the filing period leading up to the March 3 primaries is Nov. 9 through Dec. 9. The process varies depending on the position for which you are running, but the procedures laid out by the Texas Secretary of State apply to both political parties and independent candidates alike. Details can be obtained at the Texas Secretary of State’s website, sos.state.tx.us, where you will find an “elections” tab, which will lead you to the 2020 Candidates Guide and applicable forms.
The Victoria County Election Administrator’s Office and the county chairs of both political parties stand ready to assist anyone seeking to run for office. Both parties need precinct chairs and candidates for many local, district and state positions.
As the Democratic Party county chair, I will be available up until 6 p.m. Dec. 9 to accept completed applications, filing fees and/or petition in lieu of filing fees. Contact Pat Tally at 361-571-4888.
I encourage you to not wait until the last minute in case there might be errors that need correction.