I've met lots and lots and lots of diplomats over the past decade or so. Heck, I even married one.
But of course, I'm not a diplomat myself. Which is why I can say, very undiplomatically, that Rick Perry is a moron. Go read this and see if you don't agree: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/07/perry-questions-intentions-of-american-diplomats/. Said Mr. Perry: “I’m not sure our State Department serves us well. I’m not talking about the Secretary of State here. I’m talking about the career diplomats and the Secretary of State who, all too often, may not be making decisions, or giving advice to the administration that’s in this country’s best interest.”
Here's the way it works, Mr. Perry, since you're clearly not too familiar with how the Foreign Service operates. The U.S. Department of State looks for the smartest people it can find, and then, if it can interest them in a low-paying, lonely and dangerous job, somewhere in the far reaches of the globe, it hires them.
We have Republican diplomats. We have Democratic diplomats. We have gay diplomats. We have diplomats who oppose gay marriage. We have Muslim diplomats and Jewish diplomats, and girl and boy diplomats. Single parents can be diplomats, as can childless singles. We might even have (or at least we might have had, until today) diplomats who are Rick Perry supporters. We have just about every type of diplomat you can imagine, because we represent a fairly diverse cross-section of America.
What we don't have, Mr. Perry, are diplomats who joined the Foreign Service because they wanted to give screwed-up advice directly to President. You won't find a single person in the entire State Department who joined solely to get rich, or to advance a personal agenda at some great cost to our nation.
People don't always agree with each other in the Foreign Service, and people don't always get along on a personal level. But Foreign Service officers always advance the agenda of our government, without fail. And they work together, no matter their personal beliefs. Because that is what they were hired to do. Imagine that, if you will: Democrats and Republicans, all working together on behalf of our nation - it happens every single day in the Foreign Service.
I'm guessing our pal Rick Perry hasn't actually met a Foreign Service officer before. But he probably knows there aren't a whole lot of them out there (I'm told it is still true that there are more military band members than there are FSOs). Since there aren't a lot of FSOs, maybe he figures it's okay to insult the whole lot of them - after all, even if every single one of us votes against him, we don't have enough votes to collectively guarantee a loss for him. And here's the kicker: if he somehow manages to pull off a victory, those very same Foreign Service officers whom he just mindlessly insulted will stand up and support his policies across the globe.
Because that's what the Foreign Service is about. Diplomats support American ideals in every country across the globe, often at great risk to themselves and their families. Diplomats (and their boss, the Secretary of State) don't set their own policies. Rather, they serve as boots on the ground, the eyes and ears of the President in every corner of the globe. Diplomats report back what they see and hear and think in these countries that Rick Perry has probably never considered visiting. They present the facts - and yes, they present their own educated opinions - so that our President has the information he needs to create and direct policy. Once the President decides on policy, these same diplomats work to advance his agenda. Not their own agendas, mind you. Never their own agendas.
If they feel strongly enough that they can't support the President's policies, they resign. It happens, on occasion. If you suddenly find that you can't support current policy, you resign, and you go look for a job in the private sector, where you are allowed to disagree publicly with our nation's policies, and where you probably make more money, too.
But the rest of those diplomats work for the United States of America. They don't work for the Republicans, and they don't work for the Democrats. They work for us, for our country. Always.
And shame on you, Mr. Perry, for suggesting otherwise just so you could win a few votes. Shame on you.