July 2008


Democrats Abroad, Germany: Annoying Freaks

Anybody who knows me knows that I have practically no patience for stupidity.

This brings me to the subject of the US State Department and the German chapter of the Democrats Abroad. Both have elements of stupidity—the former amusingly so, the later annoyingly so.

It all started innocently enough when I checked one of my more obscure email accounts—one I keep so that I can have separate Pay Pal accounts for Germany and the United States. This is my German Pay Pal account, which also serves as my email account for easyJet and GermanWings advertisements, and for my Democrats Abroad membership.

Honestly, I check this email account about once every three or four weeks, so it wasn’t until July 8th, well after the Turkey-Germany soccer clash, that I discovered the now infamous George W. Bush State Department Warden’s Paranoid Warning about the match:

Because of the high fan interest in this prestigious semi-final elimination game between Germany and Turkey, there exists the possibility that disturbances, including violent disturbances may occur before, during or after the match, which begins at 20:45.

The email went on to warn us that “American citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations”. Now I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that lots of people made fun of the warning and how stupid it was. CN Heidelberg wrote a note to the US Embassy reviewing the responses to the warning, with an impressive set of links.

However stupid this note, what actually was disturbing about the Warden’s Warning was that the email came to me from the German chapter of the Democrats Abroad, which struck me as annoyingly stupid. One would hope that the Democrats Abroad would be worldly enough and intelligent enough to not forward such a patently stupid warning, while passing on warnings about typhoid fever or other legitimate problems.

I wrote to the Democrats Abroad:


I’m curious, is there any reason why the Democrats Abroad felt like forwarding this message was appropriate?


I then continued my travels not giving Democrats Abroad another thought until July 18th, when I logged into the email account and noticed a suspicious lack of email from the Democrats Abroad—other than a bizarre password reset email sent on July 8th. I hadn’t requested a password change and after that email I had receive not a single other communication from the organization.

Writing to the Democrats Abroad a second time I was again inquisitive:

Is there any reason you unsubscribed me from your distribution list after my previous email?

I am very disappointed in both your lack of response and the fact I have been unsubscribed.

This time I got a nice note, just before Obama’s appearance in Berlin, from the secretary of the Berlin chapter saying that according to the database I am listed as a member but that I did not wish to receive “bulk emails.” I didn’t wish to disturb her and the other members of the Democrats Abroad as they put together this important event—I really want Obama to win in November.

I didn’t bother to change my settings back to receive bulk emails.

Clearly what we have here is a situation where someone who checks the Democrats Abroad email account decided that instead of answering my question about why they forwarded a patently stupid email from the Warden, opted to get rid of me and ignore the implied criticism.

Every organization has its zealous members who do stupid things. Richard Nixon had his stupid Watergate minions that he, stupidly, tried to cover up. The Democrats Abroad have someone who stupidly unsubscribed me instead of attempting to address my concern.

It’s annoying.

However in some ways it might be for the better because this is actually the second time the Democrats Abroad have forwarded a Bush Administration Bush Paranoia Alert—I was annoyed last time as well.

1 comment to Democrats Abroad, Germany: Annoying Freaks

  • Ed

    I know what you mean. I get annoyed when I see Obama ads wih him standing next to a Republican Senator and saying we have to work together to stop terrorism.
    The Republicans will never work with the Democrats so why don’t we just vote them all out?
    When I read that only Republicans can prevent terrorist acts I ask myself, wasn’t George Bush President during 9/11?