opinion

Joining the FSC Board

Tom Hymes
I have been elected to the board of the Free Speech Coalition. I do not know if that is an honor or not but I do know that at the moment it feels like an imprecise achievement.

What I mean is that it has happened, I have been elected, but it has been an invisible process. I did not campaign or market myself in any way and have not done anything to wrangle a single vote out of anyone. In fact, I forgot about the whole thing during the election process, not because I do not care but because I was so busy that other things took priority.

I did not even discuss my nomination with a soul other than one or two initial mentions to co-workers and with my wife, of course, and with her only in passing such that she probably did not notice.

(That may have been unintentional, however; knowing how I am, she did not want me to make myself available to a cause that would reap no tangible benefit for our little family. I thus had a motive to keep her in the dark.)

Nor could I blame her for cultivating such blatant self-interest; I could use a larger dose of it myself. But I ran anyway, knowing full well not only what I was getting into but realizing also that in allowing myself to be nominated for the board of an organization I had previously worked for I was also relinquishing any future claim of ignorance about what I was doing.

Still, I live in a bubble and was honestly surprised when told that I have been elected to the board. Now there's no going back, and yet I remain conflicted.

I feel fortunate in a damned sort of way to have experienced what I have in the industry, and still marvel at the fact that it has been less than ten years. In that time, I have seen so much and heard so much more than I ever been able to write about that I have no choice but to think of it with a pure appreciation. Indeed, I have earned everything I have achieved by dint of my own relentless labor and the consistent and timely generosity of others, and still I live in awe at the generosity of life.

So why am I conflicted? Because I have already made substantial material sacrifices on behalf of the adult industry and there are times when the little voice inside whispers that it may not have been worth it. I am not the sort of person who needs personal thanks or public admiration; in fact, I evade it. But I do expect the players in the industry to step up when they are needed, and in the past I have been sorely disappointed in that regard.

Still, that is the way of the world and better people than I have sacrificed far more over the years on behalf of an industry that does not always reciprocate. I guess reciprocation is not the point; instead, one must look beyond the players to the principles.

I guess the bottom line is that despite whatever reservation I may have (and perhaps I'll do a better job because of them) I am honored to once again be able to work with people of such high character and ability. But even more important, I feel as if finally after several troubled years the stars are aligning and a potent group of people has come together to hopefully achieve great things.

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