So, the term is wrapping up. As per usual, the current PotUS (me) is being used as a boogeyman to scare you into voting this way or that. Meh. At least I'm not getting any kind of special treatment.
While I'm not yet done with my job and there are still some loose ends to tie up, we're done enough that I can give you a recap. Just a heads up, this is going to be super long but it still won't cover everything. This won't be my last article of the term. I'll try to break up the wall of text with random Zooey interludes, though.
Communication: Promise | Mostly Fulfilled
I can say that I held my end up, that's for sure. I made multiple posts in Congress and in the Defense forums to keep people in the loop. I encouraged discussion and even some decision-making. I trusted those in whom you trust to lead you and help keep you informed.
Did they do it? Well...Congress did not. But as I have mentioned before, I hope this becomes regular practice on behalf of future Administrations so Congress and parties can make the changes they need to start bridging the gap between the people and the government. I think it does fall on the White House to make the first move, but they can't make the only move.
Already in this term of Congress, a Congressman put forth an issue that was brought to them by a member of their party. That made me extremely happy (way to go We The People!). That's how it's supposed to work, and now it is being discussed and debated. ATO is another area where communication was absolutely necessary and was greatly improved this month. I'll get to that in a minute.
Also along the lines of open communication is trying to work with the JCS. As I had nothing at all to do with the split and took no part in their past drama, I had hoped they would be at least somewhat receptive to trying to patch things up so we can start working together. I know we disagree about direction when it comes to foreign policy, but I don't know how we can get on the same page without talking to each other. I reached out and they weren't interested. We had multiple options for battle initiatives, each with their pros and cons. Taiwan had the fewest cons, so I asked JCS if they would be interested in supporting the eUS in this endeavor. They flatly refused and made it abundantly clear that they have zero interest in working with any eUS Administration that they didn't hand pick. JCS members aren't even allowed to work in the government or be involved in it in any way...unless they were placed there.
I wanted to believe that the problem here was at least somewhat contained to past leadership, and maybe it is. But JCS leaders aren't elected, they are lifetime appointments. So the leaders who were deeply involved in the split are still leading while the government changes hands and moves forward through elections and public influence. It is what it is. Admittedly, I had too many other things on my plate this month to keep pushing for change in this area. I extended my hand and asked for their input, they shot me down, I moved on. Good luck to the next PotUS.
Domestic Initiatives: Promise | Mostly Fulfilled
The entirety of the Interior Department continues to be completely funded by public donations as the eRep economy continues to suck. There were some new people in this department who learned the ropes and did a good job of getting up to speed and serving our people, especially noobs.
The Education Department is getting innovative and thinking outside the box, as you can see with their latest update HERE. Utilizing video for tutorials is something that was tried a super long time ago, but with all of the game changes, the videos became quickly outdated. It is very encouraging to see this being revived and being executed more successfully than ever before!
I also mentioned wanting to get 2-clickers more active and bring some people back from the dead. I wish I could take direct credit for this happening, but Haliman deserves a lot of the credit. He wanted to come out of retirement to regain the AMP Party Presidency and a zombie apocalypse ensued. I know not everyone is a fan of old players coming back from the dead to influence politics...believe me, I definitely get that. It leaves a really bad taste in the mouths of the people who had been working hard in the party for a while. But, I will say, if they actually become active and involved in the game again, then that can be a very good thing!
My old friend, Hadrian X, also came back from the dead recently and his impact on our society was huge and immediate. He started Empire News Network which has already become a massive hit, rewarding excellence in media and creating some of its own with the extremely popular podcast, Guerilla Radio. He also runs one of the best IRC chans out there. It's drama-free, lots of fun and always packed with ladies. Pretty sure it's invite-only, though, sorry. Being elite is awesome.
Activity is up right now as noobs are being pushed up through the system and old players return. While some factions are refusing to vote in our elections so they can pretend activity has actually tapered off, it seems pretty evident to me just based on party, media and IRC activity that it's up. Obviously this cannot all be credited to my Administration, but I'm happy to see it, regardless.
Restructuring and teamwork: Promise | Mostly Fulfilled
I was probably more successful here than I am willing to give myself credit for because there are a couple major failures in regards to staffing that I am going to beat myself up over. Overall, there was a lot of communication between departments. Everyone in my cabinet was totally in the loop at all times. We worked together on making decisions. I relied on my advisors and my directors to take the lead. I posted logs and shared information at every opportunity and always allowed for a certain amount of debate and discussion before making the final call. I expected them to lead their teams without my interference.
I chose people who I believed would give me good, honest input. Even if we didn't agree and they had openly opposed me in the past (and I, them) I knew that their input would never be simply to STFU and do whatever they say. To that end- success! While there was some difficulty communicating to certain individuals that just because I am asking for their input, it doesn't mean I am completely stupid, and also some difficulty convincing certain individuals that it's okay for them to speak up and voice a potentially unpopular opinion, I think overall we were successful in working as a team. There wasn't much dead weight and there was definitely more cohesion toward the end of the term than there was at the beginning. If I could run again, I would make very few staffing changes.
I am very proud of my staff from this term. They worked very hard and did what needed to be done. Thedillpickl was an EXCELLENT Chief of Staff. He was new to politics at that level and he did a lot of watching and listening. I really hope he got a lot out of the experience and I appreciate his willingness to crack the whip. My other Chief of Staff, Jefferson Locke, also did an incredible job. He was tasked with overseeing and coordinating ATO all month. He's organized and he's ambitious, so he rarely needed to be told to do something. He really enjoys working with others and you can see the results of that teamwork. There's a reason pretty much every candidate wants this guy in his cabinet.
I also want to give props to emdoublegee who handled additional responsibility very well. He had been in Defense before, but there were many obstacles this month and I put more on him than past Administrations had. He impressed me, as did his staff. They were tasked with some restructuring and solving difficult budget problems, while simultaneously developing battle plans with State and getting on top of Daily Orders for the public. Some of this is still in progress (budget...grrrr), but they've worked diligently to these ends.
Interior did exceptionally well. Kodos and Exploration are both quiet powerhouses who work very hard and don't beg for credit. They deserve credit though because they are very reliable players who genuinely care about noobs and are always thinking of creative ways to serve. I said when I was campaigning that I knew I wouldn't have to worry about Interior and I totally didn't. I cannot take credit for their accomplishments and all of their hard work. I can simply say I am proud of them and thankful for their service.
Now we get to the failures. These are the regrets.
State Department- Tenshibo did a great job, without a doubt. Foreign Affairs is no easy task right now as we try to balance a transition into a new alliance and a clean break from the old. Because of this, I worked closely with Tenshibo throughout the month to work with the many nations involved. Despite what you may have heard, we are not universally hated. Quite the opposite, actually. Sure there are some hurt feelings here and there, but there has been no rage from outside the eUS that comes anywhere near the rage inside. Most of that domestic rage is personal, sometimes disguised as political, while the nations in question (for the most part) handle themselves in a very mature manner and seem to understand the concept of this being a game. Our closest friendships do not hinge entirely on alliances. Our affection for Albania doesn't vaporize because we're trial members of CoT, nor does theirs for us. It's certainly complicated but it's not like we've written them off entirely. I remain confident that we did more right than wrong when it comes to foreign affairs. We're on the right path, but it is a long road.
State was tasked with a wide variety of things from ironing out relationships with old friends and old enemies to building relationships with new friends to strategizing with Defense to organizing with Immigration and DHS to hamstring the PTO. There was a lot going on and we were mostly successful. Some think we should've been more involved in the Australia situation, others think we were too involved. While neither Chile nor Australia are completely blameless in the dissolution of their NAP, we had to make a judgment call on who was MORE to blame for what happened. We made that call, along with Brazil. Not everyone is happy about this, including me. Like I said, I worked very hard to make that agreement happen in the first place. Peace between those two nations was a long shot, at best, but I had hoped it would last longer than a week or two. I maintain that I did what I believe was best for the eUS and I don't regret trying to stay out of things and leaving Australia and Chile to make their own decisions. We were to serve as both the carrot and the stick, as per the agreement, not as the mediators once it was signed and we certainly wouldn't take on the responsibility of handling Australia's foreign affairs for them.
What did make FA a bit more complicated for the Administration than it needed to be was the total lack of an Ambassador Department. Because we are in a transitional time, I was hoping we could overhaul the Ambassador program and really utilize them to help us with communication in every corner of the world. Unfortunately, BeachBunny was unable to perform her duties (at all) because she's getting ready for RL military service. I can't knock her for that, but I really wish she wouldn't have taken the job in the first place. That was a real wasted opportunity and it will fall to the next Administration to set it all right. My apologies to the people who signed up as Ambassadors and then were left out in the cold. I made the assumption that work was being done when it wasn't. I'm sorry I didn't catch it sooner and resolve it. There were a few volunteers who were very helpful in working with their assigned nation, even without a Director. One Sky's work with Romania immediately comes to mind. Well done.
The other point of failure is in Media. Civil Anarchy did excellent work, as always. Unfortunately he had to do pretty much all of that work on his own as there was great difficulty getting his writing staff to contribute. There are many reasons for this and probably plenty of blame to go around, but it should fall on me.
I'm not sure if either of these things are failures that would be noticed by the general public. We picked up slack in Foreign Affairs and the general activity and involvement of the public, as well as various members of the Administration may have made a thin WHPR staff less noticeable. That's definitely a good thing, but I had high hopes in both of these areas and find myself disappointed. As I am the one that took on the responsibility of staffing, I take the shame.
Homeland Security/ATO: Promise | Fulfilled like crazy
Now THIS, I am extremely proud of.
We now have a functional DHS that serves a real purpose and does so effectively. During Party President elections we not only held our parties with hardly any wasted votes, but increased organization made it possible for us to scoop up a lot of the tiny parties the AFA had been using to manipulate CP races. This was a VAST improvement over last month and considering that was our first challenge of the term, I am well impressed with the staff of the new DHS.
These successful operations would not have been possible without the cooperation of the Parties and loyal MUs. Our staff kept everyone in the loop and also involved them in some of the organization.
While we didn't see such overwhelming success in Congressional elections (the AFA is holding their percentages), that is probably the trickiest election to secure big leads simply because of the mechanics. However, groundwork has been laid for future months and plans are in place. Expect to see their percentage shrink going forward.
Now we are facing the CP races. Because of the Unity process, we haven't had a lot of difficulty keeping the Presidency out of the hands of our enemies. That could change, but I hope we stay focused and continue working together. These Unity elections are only necessary because of the PTO threat, so it stands to reason that the harder we work TOGETHER to stamp it out, the sooner we can get back to just normal elections. I believe we are well on our way, and not simply because of various ATO strategies (of which there are quite a few).
I believe the tide is turning in the eUS. I believe that our foreign policy shift has started conversations that very much need to be had if we want to eliminate this threat and better our position in a rapidly changing international landscape. I believe our continued faith and investment in our society through media and various programs will keep us growing and moving forward. I believe our increased communication between the government and the public, both directly and via other elected representatives, will make us a stronger nation. I believe our diligence when it comes to security will not only keep us safe, but will make us play smarter going forward.
I truly think I am leaving this nation better than I found it and I have set things in place that will make life easier for the next Administration (unless they want to wind back the clock...that'll be tough). Of course there are some things that are so broken, they are quite possibly beyond repair, but I tried to fix what can be fixed. Thank you for the opportunity to lead and make these huge decisions on your behalf. It has been an honor serving you.
Thanks for reading,
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