The true meaning of civil service.
Many boys as they become men, tend to go through a stage rejecting or fighting with their parents. Some see them as not “good enough”, not “strong enough”, not “smart enough”. I never went through that process. My mother taught me how family is first, education is first, being smart comes first.
But my father, He taught me how to show kindness to strangers.
All his life he worked for the government. In our country where being a government official was seen as an opportunity to enrich oneself, and act in a corrupt way, He followed the rules, and found ways to help people.
When he worked in the equivalent of the Social Security office, there was a change in the rules that relied on people to announce when the retiree had died, to stop the retirement checks. Many people would continue cashing checks even after the retiree passed away.
The government then required retirees to present evidence they were still alive every six months. On paper this sounds like a good strategy to prevent fraud, but it had unintended consequences. There were some very old retirees who relied on family members or friends to cash their checks every month, but since they did not appear at the offices where they could demonstrate they were still alive, their checks stopped being issued, and then the most vulnerable people had to deal with the consequences. It was a good policy in theory but in practice it caused too much human suffering.
My father after listening to these stories, he suggested to go to the banks themselves (this was before electronic deposits), and not have to require old retirees an additional trip which many times was too hard on their bodies.
He was told that it would be too expensive to do it, and that his idea was not going work. So he convinced a group of co-workers and their families to implement his idea. I was 15 years old and he drafted me to help him offer this service to the retirees.
People at first complained when they saw me because they said I was inexperienced, as it would take longer than others to find the right documentation for everyone, at one point being a teen, I exploded and shouted that my father had drafted me to help them, and that it was not my job. This immediately changed the way people reacted, when they realized that this was not the government’s idea, but rather the service that a civil servant was willing to offer to ease some of the pain produced by the official policy.
When I was in High school I finished a technical degree in computer science, and my father learned of how I could build databases that could facilitate some of the paperwork he had at his branch. It took me a weekend, and that piece of software remained in use for 5 years until an official solution was introduced.
He taught classes to retirees to maximize their benefits, by simply following the rules, and receive everything they were entitled to receive. He never charged a cent. He said the role of the government was to serve its citizens, not the other way around.
I saw a strong man, helping those who needed help. Anticipating their needs, while at the same time, teaching me how to play Tennis, Squash, Volleyball, Softball, riding a bike, allowing me to not work a day of my student life, and finish my college degree living at home, buying me computers and every piece of equipment I needed back in the 90s.
I would hear stories of how other people refer to my father, how there was part admiration, and part confusion. Always trying to find what was my Father’s benefit from helping all these people. What was his personal gain? Nobody, not even my mother could understand that he did all these things, because they were the right thing to do.
This is the reason I was drawn to Tulsi Gabbard. I grew up with a great civil servant, I know the sacrifices he had to make, I know how the world conspires to corrupt you, it tempts you to take advantage of the situation, and transforms your ideals.
I see people wanting power for the sake of power.
I see people lying to obtain what they want.
I see people using their strength to impose their will to people weaker than them.
Tulsi exemplifies the virtues I saw in my Father. Her moral compass and sense of community is her strength. What she calls: Aloha.
So why do I want to vote for Tulsi? Because it is a way to vote for the values my father taught me and has nurtured throughout my life. Don’t let those who do not deserve power deceive you. Keep an open mind, and an open heart.
I am just one of 230 million voters, my vote and voice is insignificant, but deep in my heart, I know I am not alone, and there are many more who also share my values.
Please let us join our voices, and shout: Tulsi, please run! Please, please run.