Apologies for the delay in this post. I accidentally deleted everything that I had written and had to redo the entire post. All of it. Now it's a lot shittier than it was before, but what the hell, you have to use the cards you're dealt, right? FUCK! I hate windows! I want my mac back!

Also, it should be noted that in my quotes below, I have paraphrased the Under Secretary. I did not have a recorder with me at the time, and I left my notebook in the car - as I was not at this event in a journalistic capacity. The quotes are as exact as my memory will allow, especially after my previous post was deleted. I was there as a potential recruit, and that is what I remain. Although, well, just fucking read the post.

On Thursday night, I drove into the big city to attend a State Department function hosted and catered by the Renaissance Hotel in Seattle.

BTW, @Renaissance_Sea is my favorite hotel in the city - especially for political functions, although there is a building under construction right next door. The famous view that the hotel was known for no longer exists. And the construction project sort of wraps around two whole sides of the hotel, kind of like this italic text wrapping around my actual post.

The purpose of this event was to bring in all of the potential recruits that have been scouted from around the Pacific Northwest region over the past few years into one place for networking, a panel discussion, hawking their book, and a Q&A at the end of the evening.

But the most striking thing that happened on Thursday night for me wasn't the pomp, it was one equivocation of an ideology that Patrick F. Kennedy passed along to me after the event was finished.

"I'm not entirely sure that I've found myself, if you know what I mean," I told him.

"Well, what are your interests? What turns you on in politics? Do you like working with other people? Do you like computers?" Kennedy asked me.

"I'm not entirely sure if I'm an introvert or an extrovert, but, umm... the ultimate goal is that I want to save the world," I said.

"Well, I hate doing this because it's another agency, but you should go over to USAID, because if you want to save the world, that's what they do. We're not saving the world. We're in an intellectual game to maintain and evaluate the state of world affairs as they relate to the USA. We're not saving the world," he said.


That one sentence will stick with me forever.

Ever since I was a young boy learning about the State Department for the very first time, and how awesome and amazing it would be to be an Ambassador to a foreign country - I had automatically assumed that the role of every government branch is to save the world. Why would a branch of government even exist if not to make the world a better place to live?

I had a conversation with my father last night. He's always been a kind of skeptic of government - he was at UC Berkeley in 1962 as a freshman, he was literally eating soup at the cafe across the Quad during the Student Union takeover - or something like that, I might be confusing a few different stories he's told me over dinner in the past decade. I'm pretty sure he was a Narco for the DEA while he was in Mexico living in that school bus, although he'd never admit to something like that. That was during the whole Iran / Contra / Rick Ross...THING.

He's also the same person who, while we were on tour at the Capitol Building in Olympia, told me that if I became a Senate Page, I'd be raped in the ass. So I guess I have to thank him for not being raped in the ass.

During this conversation, the topic turned to this turn of events on Thursday night. I told him of the overpowering significance of this one thing that Kennedy said to me.

"Well, I'm glad you learned that before you officially signed up. That's a very important thing to know - you have to be able to observe the state of affairs rather than intervene. State knows everything that's happening in a country - they know where the drugs are moving - in and out. They know who's shipping what. They know that the forests are being cut down in the Amazon, but that might be a bad example because that's something they talk about in elementary school. But they know the NAMES of the tribes in the Amazon who are going to be displaced. But it's not their job to intervene. It's their job to observe and sometimes evaluate, as you said, and report back to their bosses. Their bosses being the CIA, who are the ones that will use that information to influence world events according to the wishes of whoever is in power," my father said.

 And right now, we have an administration who is very supportive of shadow ops and using them for good - but in November the bosses are going to hand over the keys, and the government is going to be under new management. So, who knows what's going to be the ultimate aim of the next administration? The candidates are so unclear on their message that we're probably going to be Hailing Hydra by December.

"Yeah. Shit. I just... I just thought that everyone wanted to save the world," I said.

"It's not a cliche. The world runs on money. You have to be a cold son of a bitch to work in a place where you know what's going on, but also know that you can't do anything about it. And since these guys are working for the government, they're not even working for their own money, their working for someone else's money. You have to be cold, but that also doesn't mean you have to be humorless," he said.

"Yeah, I know. Those guys were cracking jokes all night long. But..."

"You have to not be emotionally affected by the outcome of events. If you want to work for State, you can't break. Think about it, and at the next dinner, after you've made your decision - tell them what aspects of the Department actually DO appeal to you," he said.

"Right. OK. Because I know that I don't want to work for USAID. That sounds like a shit job," I said.

"It's your decision."


Now I have a lot of thinking to do, and a helluva lot more Machiavelli to read. Do I REALLY want to save the world? Or do I just want the world to be saved? Am I comfortable knowing that there are people out there who's job is to save the world? Or am I so insecure about the future that I actually need to have my own hands working on a solution to the inevitable man-made apocalypse?

A lot to think about.