My fellow Asgardians,
The chance to be one of the architects of this nation’s new government is an enormous opportunity and weighty responsibility. I am grateful to be at this exciting crossroads with all of you and very thankful to be able to explain ...
My fellow Asgardians,
The chance to be one of the architects of this nation’s new government is an enormous opportunity and weighty responsibility. I am grateful to be at this exciting crossroads with all of you and very thankful to be able to explain my beliefs and qualifications for candidacy as a Member of Parliament for Asgardia. Thank you for taking the time to read my statement.
We stand on the threshold of an incredible moment, a chance to re-define inclusion and to offer a model for other nations as they think about difference, equal opportunity, and human rights.
Asgardia is perhaps the first nation to be created without colonization, conquest, erasure, or revolution. The process of establishing our government will not have ulterior motives of legitimizing and maintaining the power of our leaders, of justifying why we took our land from the people that came before us. We will be citizens of a nation without a history — without a history of oppression, exploitation, enslavement, or entrenched inequalities – and we will be able to learn from our combined histories without being defined by them. We will have the opportunity to explore what difference can mean when the rich variety of perspectives on the human experience is not viewed though the historical lens of whose relatives benefited unfairly from the labor of others, whose predecessors stole land or freedom from whom, whose ancestors decided that their wives did not deserve a vote, who thought of others as less than because they were different from.
I currently reside in a nation founded on beautiful ideals and haunted by a divisive history. Our politicians exploit this history, triggering defensiveness and fear, leveraging anger instead of guiding us away from the patterns and mistakes of the past. I believe that that the peaceful dialogue through which we will negotiate the parameters of the Asgardian government has the potential to be a model for other nations. We have the chance to define what life might be like in a future space state, but we also have the opportunity to influence international dialogue in the world we inhabit here and now.
I can’t promise I know all the answers about what every aspect of the Asgardian government should look like – in fact I can promise I don’t - but I am experienced in productive negotiation and committed to the idea of Asgardia becoming a model of engaging difference as richness, as a variety of experiences that can make us better and stronger. I believe that without the full weight of history, we can come to the table as human beings, discuss possible policies and procedures, and use our rich personal histories to make wise choices for the future of our citizenry. I don’t have all the answers, but I believe I’m the right person to be in the room (digital or otherwise) for discussions and debates as we try to grapple with options and decide on the best path forward.
My name is Heather Galles. I’m from the United States, specifically Southern California, where I am currently in charge of operations at a large arts complex. I am a systems thinker skilled in change management, and I enjoy consensus-building: creating buy-in from groups of people that have different stakes in the outcome of a given situation. I have never been a politician, but I know how to listen, I know how to lead, and I am honest about the things I don’t know and am still learning. I have a broad spectrum of experience, I’m always open to new perspectives, I’m not beholden to anybody, and I am not afraid of standing up for what I believe and taking a stand for the people I am speaking on behalf of. In my opinion, that’s what politicians should be like.
I am running for elected office now because I think the Asgardian experiment matters. I waited so long to throw my hat in the ring because of all the (often deserved) negative associations with holding political office and running for one. I don’t like the fact that politicians in America often seem to spend more time running for reelection than working for the people that elected them in the previous race. I don’t like the incivility of the current discourse in my country, the ‘anyone but X’ tribalism, the war on facts, or the vast influence of often-invisible money greasing the political machinery. I didn’t even run for student body positions at my high school or university because of the emphasis on popularity and resume-building over trying to (or being able to) create lasting change.
Asgardia is different. And I would be a different kind of politician.
I am prepared to get to work. I have over a decade of financial and management experience, from building and auditing departmental budgets for a large museum to restructuring operations for several small businesses, to coordinating teams of architects and consultants working on projects on four continents, with budgets often in the hundreds of millions of U.S. Dollars. I can take on the macro vision, and I can deal with the brass tacks of details and deliverables.
I have experience in marketing. While I am aware of the damage advertising can do, I also know how important optics are and how crucial it is to get the word out – you can’t sustain a for-profit or nonprofit business, even if you are exceptional, if nobody knows that you exist or why you matter. We must effectively explain to the rest of the world why the Asgardian endeavor matters, why our ideas matter, why this process matters.
I have logistical experience in everything from writing contracts and wrangling human resources, to digital archive construction and user interface design, to overseeing facilities upkeep and repair, managing vendor relationships, adjudicating tenant disputes, maintaining legal compliance and liaising with governmental and regulatory bodies. I have the skills needed to be part of the team building a new entity from the ground up.
I am a horticulturist and a master gardener in my county. I believe the path to environmental sustainability relies on figuring out closed-loop, cradle-to-cradle approaches to resource use, finding ways for companies to turn a profit while making ‘greener’ choices, and building coalitions among stakeholders with different reasons for wanting the same thing. (Anglers and environmental activists both want fish in the river next year.) I also think improved battery technology for storage of intermittent sources of renewable energy like wind and solar will make a huge difference in shrinking our collective carbon footprint. We have the radical opportunity to make environmental choices for our new nation based on science, evidence, and reason—not political allegiances or quarterly returns.
Asgardia is a beautiful dream. We have the opportunity to begin again, outside of the inherited histories from the countries of our birth. Whether or not the nation of Asgardia has an inhabitable presence in space during my lifetime, we have the chance to lay the groundwork for a new future now – and I believe a new direction is needed if we as a species intend to have a future. The work that we begin here may grow into a new kind of governance, a new form of belonging without the need for geographical boundaries, a new approach to resource generation and resource allocation that isn’t based on a zero-sum game. Perhaps we can help redefine how humans connect, how we coexist in this world and with this world – and who knows, maybe we will become pioneers in defining places for humans to coexist outside this world.
Whatever the future of Asgardia, the thought experiment matters. The process is important. We can show the rest of the world, too often engaged in partisan fighting, focused only on the “win,” that the dialogue is vital. We are embarking on something new. I don’t have all the answers – nobody does – but I believe I can contribute something significant to the conversation, and I am asking for your vote so I have the opportunity to do so on our collective behalf.
I am aware that my candidacy will be classified as Governmental Candidate due to the eligibility requirement that a Parliamentary Candidate must be 40 years of age at the time of election. Nonetheless, I am putting myself forward as a Parliamentary Candidate because I believe I am qualified to contribute in that capacity. One of the most beautiful things about the idea of Asgardia is its plurality; the potential for the inclusion of many perspectives, regardless of the origin of the individuals involved. If enough Asgardian citizens believe I am fit to serve in a leadership capacity, I do not believe I should be disqualified from service in the only elected leadership role already defined by the government – the only leadership role tasked with defining the government – simply because I am not yet 40. (I would turn 40 less than halfway through my five-year term.) Wherever my candidacy lands, your vote will help broaden the range of perspectives contributing to this nation and its government, and I thank you for your consideration.