Let me apologize up-front.
I hate to always be the bearer of bad news – the hypercritical, faultfinding cynic who never seems happy about anything. I think it’s all part of my karmic cycle – my samsara – the whole “wheel of life” thing.
At my core, I am a terribly flawed man cursed with the inability to simply turn my head and ignore.
Fall in line. Conform.
Just can’t do it.
Some days I feel like old Diogenes of Sinope – the poor bastard who believed that virtue was best revealed in action, rather than theory – and he spent his days criticizing the fraudulent “social values,” corrupt politicians, and dishonest institutions of the day.
Suffice it to say, Diogenes was not well liked.
After all, he preached reason and virtue to so-called “leaders” who had lost the capacity for self-criticism and shame.
Many thought he was crazy. Perhaps he was.
He had a scraggly white beard and roamed the streets making people feel uncomfortable.
Diogenes often slept in a large ceramic jar in a marketplace in downtown Athens, and was most famous for carrying a lamp around in the daytime, telling anyone who would listen that he was looking for ‘one honest man.’
He criticized and embarrassed the politicians of the day, disputed corrupt interpretations of the law, and disrupted the lectures of Socrates and other great academics and philosophers.
He also publicly mocked Alexander the Great.
Yep. Diogenes was one weird dude.
He was ultimately captured by pirates while traveling to Aegina and sold as a slave in Crete to a Corinthian named Xeniades. When Diogenes was asked how he made his living, he told his captors that he had no trade – other than governing men – and asked to be sold to a man who needed a master.
Most of what we know about Diogenes is anecdotal, stories passed down through the ages.
Not all of them kind.
In fact, physicians have named a disorder after him – Diogenes Syndrome – also known as senile squalor syndrome; characterized by extreme self-neglect, domestic squalor, social withdrawal, apathy, compulsive hoarding of garbage or animals, and a lack of shame.
That’s a tough handle to drag through history.
Clearly, the thing Diogenes hated most was the stench of political lies.
I was reminded of this recently when I saw County Manager Jim Dinneen, and a few of his elected toadies on the county council, onanistically wallowing in self-congratulation for their soi-disant “A+” response to Hurricane Matthew.
In the heat and hubris of their celebration, Mr. Dinneen gave into his base instincts and blurted out the whopper that all storm-related debris would be collected within the next 20-days.
You read that right.
Per Daytona Beach’s WNDB radio, “Dinneen said it could take up to 20 days before all the debris is cleared. The debris may be an eyesore, but it’s not a health or safety hazard.”
That was nine days ago.
In my view, Mr. Dinneen is either delusional, or he lied to us when the truth would serve him – and us – better.
People took the county manager at his word – and now they are pissed.
And they should be.
The fact is, it will be weeks before this mess is cleaned-up and we are back to normal – and Mr. Dinneen damn well knows it.
Why does he feel the intuitive need to lie to us so openly?
Because he knows there will be no repercussions, that’s why.
A proper public communications strategy would have reminded us that crews are working hard to collect and dispose of the debris piles, and our roads and right-of-way’s will be cleared as soon as possible.
Simple. Clear. Concise. And the truth.
In my view, Mr. Dinneen’s patently mendacious behavior is indicative of all that is wrong with county government. If our highly paid county administrator will lie to us over seemingly insignificant matters – what is he capable of on more important issues?
I am sick and tired of being lied to by people who accept public funds to perform a public service.
How about you?
Where is Diogenes when we need him?