This is how Washington works. Bureaucrats are hard-wired to believe they haven’t screwed up. They turn to coworkers and office pals to reinforce their belief. The FVAP version of this delusion is to tell Americans that the voting success rate really isn’t a success rate, and that Voting Assistance Officers (VAOs) spread around the world will carry the load.
I’ve spoken with numerous active VAOs, and they describe a system that doesn’t work. One officer in Kuwait shared with me the story of how he couldn’t get his CO’s approval to attend the required VAO training at the American embassy in Kuwait. Yet another described for me the thick clunky FVAP book with voting guidelines for every state and territory they must lug around. Still another VAO described the lavish world travel enjoyed by a former FVAP director, who was greeted by a car at airstrips around the globe and whisked off to receptions of fresh cut fruit, liquor, and shrimp cocktail. Nice work, if you can get it.
In the face of these failures, FVAP has announced that Twitter and Facebook are an answer:
We use social media. We use Twitter. We use Facebook, especially so that we can reach out to the largest military population, which is those 18- to 24- to 25-year-olds. We have a mobile website we just unveiled last week so that using a smartphone or a tablet from anywhere you may be, you can obtain access to our information and our tools.
There’s only one problem: only 45 percent of FVAP’s Twitter followers are active, or even real, according to statuspeople.com:
A small percentage of the 36,018 @FVAP followers appear to have any relationship to the military.
Consider two followers of FVAP’s social media campaign. “Grrrrrrr” loves “to party” and is part of #teamBiSexual. FVAP follower Cool Gadgets provides a helpful link to www.sextoysonline.se and randomly notes in his Twitter profile — “dildos”:
FVAP can always rely on Twitter follower Cristian Ortega to get DOD’s messages to the troops. Ortega notes he is “twelf [sic] years old and I love @lmfao and my idols are @redfoo and @skynuts”:
If Ortega doen’t deliver the goods, FVAP can turn to others like PornSplice, Nazi Abisabb, or Bangkok Wing Chun. The latter offers “professional private instruction in Wing Chun, Yoga, and Quigong” (not to be confused with those good old Dance Hall Days):
Others like “Dreemstars” may be monitoring FVAP for reasons which have nothing to do with military voting rights.