Candidacy Statement: Tom Lotze

I really just have two goals for HRSFANS.

First, I want to build a community. That’s really what has given HRSFA its strength, and I think that has to continue to be our core. I think that this will contain a lot of things–but that each of those things should build personal connections between people, shared purpose, and shared trust. Things to make people proud and comfortable being HRSFANS. I think that means moving in two directions: first, encouraging the formation and development of local HRSFANS groups. We have a de facto one in DC, but I know that Boston and New York could each support one as well. I really do like the vision of HRSFANS groups all over, providing support and community for anyone who comes to the area. Creating a kind of support network. And second, to focus on forming SIGs. Because we have such a strange and diverse set of people that we need some way to find those common connections again, to figure out what is there to bring us together. To make connections.

Second, I want to build strength. I realize that this is a somewhat unusual thing for HRSFANS to be looking towards, but that may be part of why I think it’s important. We have the opportunity to build an organization here that can help change things for the better. I want to see that we have the ability to actually effect that change. That might come in many forms, and I don’t know which will be right for HRSFANS.
Maybe it means being able to acquire permanent space–buying a place for HRSFA in Cambridge. Or for HRSFANS organizations, to have a gathering place.
Maybe it means being able to support our members when they need it; with support for new ventures, or contacts and connections, to give them opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Maybe it means being an amazing central point for memes and ideas to spread and infect the culture; or influencing the writers of today and tomorrow with a vision of the future.
Maybe it means influencing politics to support policies or people we believe in.

I think the potential is pretty significant. I think that in many ways, HRSFANS could become a center from which great things happen. Some people are going to be uncomfortable with the idea of HRSFANS as an organization with power, I think. To be honest, I’m not entirely comfortable with it myself. With power comes the responsibility to use it well. But I want HRSFANS to be able to /do/ things, significant things. Can we do any of these things? I don’t know; and i know it will take time, more than three years, even if we can. But I think it’s worth working towards; because HRSFA has had some of the most amazing people I’ve ever known, and it is these people I would want to bring about a better future.

“You should view the world as a conspiracy run be a very closely-knit group of nearly omnipotent people, and you should think of those people as yourself and your friends.”
-Robert Anton Wilson
Now, the big caveats.
I have had some hesitancy about running, because I don’t yet feel confident that I can succeed in these things. While I have some notions of what to do, I don’t have a good plan for how to do them, and that always makes me uncomfortable. I’ve spouted a little bit of rhetoric above, but that’s far from a plan. I don’t have the sense that I know things well enough, that I am confident I can make things better. Even if you agree with these directions, how I end up trying to achieve them may differ significantly from what you really want. I’ve also been worried about the time commitment, which I know will be substantial, over the next three years. I hope to finish a PhD in the next year, and then start a new career, and both of those will take time and energy. There are other people and activities which will want my time. Without a specific plan and definite goals, and with a potential lack of time and energy, I honestly don’t know how effective I will be.

I also believe that the best person for the job is probably the one who is most enthusiastic about it and has the best ideas. Someone with drive can make an amazing difference–Max Lerner said, “Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money and power and influence.” I have some enthusiasm and some ideas. I don’t know if I have the most. To be honest, I would be quite happy with the other candidates so far. I think any of them would do a phenomenal job, quite possibly better than I would. So if you’re considering voting for me, especially if it’s because you know me better than the other candidates, I want you to pause a moment and really think about their strengths and my real weaknesses. If, after consideration, you think one of them would be better, /please/ vote for them. I would really rather have the right person as President; I would not be at all disappointed to lose to another good candidate.

I do know that I am excited, and at times electrified, by the possibility of building something with the amazing people we have here. I can honestly say that I know no better group of people. And I promise that if elected, I will not take that responsibility lightly. I will work to make things happen. But no matter the outcome, I am really looking forward to the future of HRSFANS. And I hope you are, too.