Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Unbound & Ungagged

It’s interesting how things can change in the blink of an eye. One minute you seem to be treading down a particular path, then all of a sudden, the path diverges toward a completely different horizon with a new set of challenges and expectations. Some people refer to this phenomena as karma, while others opine that a person is being led by the hand of God.

I don’t really care how anyone desires to frame the situation. Karma. God. Chance. Fate. Choose the term you like. All I know is that my world was turned upside down in the course of a scant 24 hours.

I had previously announced on this blog that I was choosing to refrain from offering political commentary for the next year or so. I had made this decision because I applied to and had been accepted to serve the poor of our nation through the Americorp*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America)…the domestic Peace Corps.

By federal law, VISTA volunteers agree not to express publicly opinions on partisan politics. Since I was preparing to go to my Pre-Service Training during the third week of November, I thought it would be best if I started practicing biting my tongue. Thus, I greatly cutback on the tenor and amount of entries here at The Rambling Taoist.

All that is water under the bridge now. I was bounced OUT of VISTA before I even began. While the Corporation for National & Community Services goes to great lengths to express the idea that a person invited to serve is NOT considered a representative of the program UNTIL they complete the requisite training, it turns out this is not altogether true.

While an invitee is not afforded any protection in terms of the procedures and policies of the program, for other purposes a person IS considered a representative of VISTA from the moment they accept an invitation. I found this out the hard way.

The reason I was de-selected for my upcoming VISTA assignment is that my potential supervisor didn’t like my wardrobe AND he didn’t like one or more of the 5 bumper stickers on my truck and the peace flag I fly on my truck antenna. Even though, at that juncture, I was still a private citizen supposedly covered under the 1st Amendment, it seems that exercising my constitutional rights was a big no-no.

Consequently, all the time and effort my wife and I have spent preparing to move 300 miles away to the tiny hamlet of Forks, Washington is all for naught. The decision to de-select me happened without my knowledge (I only found out about the “situation” after the decision had been rendered) and, because I was not yet a representative of VISTA, I found I had no right of appeal.

Over the next few days or so, I’ll share with you the particulars. While I’m understandably upset at the manner in which this ordeal played out, I am happy that my tongue is again unfettered.

The Rambling Taoist is back in business!


  1. I heard about this advertising scheme on a another blog, that gives away free computers. It sounded like a scam, but after I googled it, it was legitmiate. You have to sign up for an offer from one the sponser companies. I did the free credit report one and canceled before the free trial time was up. Here's the link, check it out.

  2. Welcome back, Trey. When I read about you not being able to express political opinions in order to take a job, I wondered how that would work out for you. It sort of sounded like a bee being told that it can't make honey--an offense to its nature.

    Life does indeed take seemingly strange turns. I'm an optimist in this regard (as I know you are too), figuring that the "universe" knows better than we do what should happen. Somehow I feel that if it had been right for you to take that job, you wouldn't have kept blogging and you might even have taken the bumper stickers off of your truck.

    Anyway, I'm sorry to hear of the job loss, but I'm not sorry that you're back in the rabble-rousing business. The world needs more outspoken people like you.

  3. Brian,

    The funny thing is that I had planned to remove my bumper stickers/peace flag and upgrade my wardrobe once I began service. I chose to keep to my routine ONLY because I was still a private citizen and I wanted to keep my "messages" until which point they needed to be removed.

    It turns out that the VISTA folks have a different take on the 1st Amendment!

  4. My husband and I were looking for alternative people or thought in the Forks, WA area as we are really interested in being there for a period of time. This is how I found your website. I'm not sure if you even check it as the last message was 2005. I hope things worked out for you. I and my husband would consider ourselves of a Toaist bend but as you do also I was a bit confused by some of your bumper stickers. Why would we have to change the world in order to find and spread balance and joy when that is a choice of the individual? Why would we have to subvert or offend when there is nothing to defend or fight against. It is only when we do so that we pretend that it is real thus making it stronger. Is not the most beautiful elder the one that is strong enough to laugh and uplift those around them regardless of the situation? I have seen people like that and hopefully I will attain the stregth of joy radiated by the Dali Lama, the sweet yet strong Tibetan nuns that recently visited from Nepal or the joyful Grandmother who has seen the rise and fall cycles that forever flow. I appreciate greatly that you have this wonderful site centered on the Tao. Thank you. Namaste'


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