By Anna von Reitz
Lately, all across the country, but especially in Ohio, there have been incidents of name-calling and unsubstantiated accusations made against Assembly Members. All this interpersonal stuff has a tendency to get dragged across my desk and I don’t have time to play School Marm for grown up kids.
Let me repeat—- the Federation works with whoever and whatever each State sends us in terms of Coordinators. If you have a do-nothing incompetent serving as Coordinator, it’s up to you to find additional people to stand up as Coordinators and get the job done. Find someone competent to volunteer, contact us to have them vetted and trained, and carry on. Any dead weight will man up or move on, and in either case, you can solve your own problem. It’s your State, your future, your Assembly. It’s all up to each one of you.
As for drunks, they have to be dealt with. They are everywhere, in every possible position and circumstance. It’s up to us as adults to recognize when someone has been drinking or drugging and know that they are not acting responsibly when they come to an Assembly function three sheets to the wind. If you have someone acting as an Assembly Officer who engages in this sort of behavior, they need to be replaced. That’s the long and short of it. Assembly Officers are in very responsible positions and if they can’t be responsible about such basic choices in life, they certainly can’t meet the demands of an Assembly office. Find someone else to serve.
Most of the incidents we’ve had of insults and name-calling have occurred when individuals were imbibing and let the booze or drugs talk for them. You may recall our forceful removal of the Hawaii Coordinator, because he couldn’t or wouldn’t control his drinking and the name-calling and unsubstantiated accusations he made against others whenever he got lit up. I wish I could say this was a unique circumstance, but it’s not. The ravages of alcohol and drug-addiction that harm our whole nation will harm our Assemblies, too, if you stand by and allow these behaviors to run rampant.
We had a member who liked to get drunk and come to meetings and call me filthy names and accuse me of every sin the Federal Government ever committed against him and he simply couldn’t get it through his head that the Federation isn’t the Federal Government. We put up with it once, we explained, we made peace. The next month, he came back for some more.
I got called the C word, the W word and every other word. I and the other members put up with his abusive rants until the third month when half a dozen men stood up and escorted him outside. They gave him their opinion of him and his behavior. And that was it, no more rants.
No more name-calling.
Those six men became known as The Decorum Committee and they helped the Marshal-at-Arms from then on. We haven’t had an incident of name-calling or unsubstantiated accusations in years. and if these behaviors are a problem for your Assembly, we suggest the same solution. Put some muscle into it.
If you are the object of name-calling, consider the source. Consider that I have already suffered far worse. I’ve been called everything there is to be called, accused of everything you can imagine, and physically attacked —and I am still here, still doing my job for my country and my countrymen. Don’t expect me to respect your decision to cut and run and stand around feeling offended and sorry for yourselves the first time someone calls you an ugly name.
If you reached the age of 21 without hearing worse, consider yourself lucky.
Life is life. It’s not Disneyland. We have to deal with drunks and do-nothings, madmen and incompetents, scheming manipulators, liars, users, abusers, paranoids. thieves, and the whole funky spectrum of human weakness, illness, and failing.
Some people would like to pretend that the Assembly environment is immune from such evils, but self-evidently, we have to roll with the punches like every other organization. You’ve seen it in school, in politics and in church, you’ve probably encountered these bad behaviors in the workplace and seen it in the military, too. It shouldn’t require any big explanations, and the solutions are surely not rocket science, either.
If you’ve got a bad do-nothing Coordinator, draft additional people to serve and bypass the roadblock — over, under, or through. All you need is one decent Coordinator to see you through the Assembling process, and if Providence didn’t land one in your laps, it’s up to you to find one. The Federation trains volunteers and helps them do the job, but we rely on the people of every State to stand up and serve.
If you have problems with drunks or druggies or people who simply cannot maintain a decent level of civility and decorum, you all know what needs to be done. So do it. Confront the offender, don’t come running to me. I am not standing there in your State — you are. And you are all presumed to be responsible adults until proven otherwise. This is your Assembly. You have to learn how to operate it, set standards for it, set goals, organize people and materials, make plans, and solve problems.
And please don’t quit. I didn’t quit. Life doesn’t count if you quit, and if you let booze and bastards win, you don’t have much to look forward to. So for your own sakes, have the strength of character and will to stand up when others try to beat you down, when they question your motives, when they call you names, when they berate you as a fool, when they stomp on your dreams. There isn’t anyone here at the Federation who hasn’t suffered worse.
John Adams once said that the only people worth caring about were those who had commitment. Commitment means that you stand when others fall. You succeed when others fail. It means you don’t fold when the going gets tough.
When you stand among men and women who have given their lives for this country, those who have sacrificed limbs, those who have lost homes and jobs and family for the sake of America, those who have spent fifty years researching and studying to understand the issues and save this country —- then maybe you should understand that drunken name-calling and irresponsible accusations are really the least of it. You are called to rise above those things.
Do so — and arm your Assembly with the manpower and the means to enforce the standards of performance and decorum that your State deserves. God bless us all.