On Volusia: Get’cha Head In The Game

Admittedly, I’m an emotional guy.  Always have been.

I get passionate about things that are important to me – I’m either totally invested or not at all.

It’s a tough way to live, because when we commit ourselves to causes or people we believe in, it leaves us vulnerable to great disappointment – but a life without passion and enthusiasm, without great causes and struggles, would be a boring experience indeed.

Like Lord Chesterfield said,  “Anything worth doing is worth doing well” – with your whole heart – with passion, commitment and dedication.

I spent my life in law enforcement where I learned early on that cops are difficult to lead but easy to inspire.  They want to fulfill their purpose and with the proper motivation will act boldly in service to others  – and I am forever proud to be part of that tribe.

Since undertaking this alternative opinion blog, I invariably find that regular readers of Barker’s View are incredibly bright and actively engaged in the issues of the day – good citizens who take the time to weigh all opinions before committing themselves to a position or solution.

They have their “head in the game” as coaches like to say.

Unfortunately, it is apparent that we also have a large number of voters who simply accept the status quo by buying into the canned promises of those candidates with enough money to get their message – and that of their political benefactors – in front of the masses with enough frequency and flash to sway opinions.

Someone once wrote that excellence honors passion and noble purpose demands high standards – anything less will drain enthusiasm – and in Volusia County politics, excellence and high standards are in short supply.

Cowards hide, lie, make self-protective decisions, obfuscate, deflect and place blame – while real leadership leans-in, commits willingly, admits mistakes and makes purpose-driven decisions – leaders reach high, accept responsibility and inspire confidence by their personal example.

Any of that sound familiar to you here on Florida’s Fun Coast?

I thought so.

When you commit to living your life with passion and exposing your emotions – you must quickly develop a finely tuned Bullshit Detector – an inner sense of right and wrong – and acquire the ability to sort those who have our best interests at heart from those who don’t – and quickly identify posers who couldn’t pour piss out of a boot with the instructions on the heel.

Ol’ Albert Einstein once said, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

 It’s easy to confuse titles and political honorifics with intelligence.

Trust me, most smart people I know avoid politics like something they don’t want to step in – while some of the dumbest rubes I’ve ever known lay down and willingly wallow in it.

That’s never more evident than during the election cycle when entrenched incumbents ask those of us who pay attention to forget everything we’ve witnessed over the past two to four years and focus on their empty rhetoric – even as they refuse to recognize the fact they have become mere pawns of big money insiders – dull tools who have been purchased like cheap livestock.

If you want a good example, check out the Ormond Beach City Commission races where real estate developers and special interests have lavished so much cash on their incumbent chattel that the inequity has become impossible to ignore.

Now we are forced to watch as those on the dais of power wiggle and squirm as they openly try and convince us – the long-suffering residents – that there is no tangible connection to these massive campaign contributions and their previous votes which brought us things like the environmental atrocity on Granada Boulevard that traded old-growth hardwoods, natural buffers and wildlife habitat for a chicken wing drive-thru and a frigging WaWa.

Don’t take my word for it – let’s look at the facts:

Campaign contributions to date:

Mayor race:

Rob Bridger: $5,907

Bill Partington (incumbent): $25,825

Zone 1:

Kathy Maloney Johnson: $6,925

Dwight Selby (incumbent): $21,200

Zone 2:

Joe Dugan: $3,095

David Glasser: $500

Troy Kent (incumbent): $22,075

Zone 3:

Sandy Kauffman: $3,965

Susan Persis: $23,660

Zone 4:

Barry du Moulin: $2,920

Rob Littleton (incumbent): $14,626

David Romeo: $3,993

Here’s the rub – in a recent article in the Ormond Beach Observer, current Zone 4 City Commissioner Rob Littleton said “. . .the only common characteristic about anyone who has contributed to his campaign is that they believe he deserves re-election. The conflict of interest dispute is “nothing but allegations and slander” against the integrity of the sitting commissioners.”

“If I did not agree with a project that came before the commission, I would absolutely vote against it,” Littleton said. “Anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve been very independent my entire life, and I’m my own man, and nobody owns me.”

 Okay, Rob.  Keep telling yourself that. . .

Why is it that politicians who have so openly compromised their independence always crow the loudest about how “independent” they are?

Why do they vociferously deny the obvious motivations of their political benefactors – while willingly accepting their cash?

Is it possible that they have told themselves the same lies so many times that they actually have come to believe their own gibberish? 

In my view, when political hubris allows our elected leaders to draw moral conclusions by denying reality and simply imagining how they perceive themselves despite evidence to the contrary – that’s dangerous.

I don’t mind politicians lying to me – that’s what politicians do in this day and age – it’s when they lie to themselves that I get uncomfortable.

Look, most of us who are old enough to discern fairy tales from reality understand that political campaigns in 2018 are about victory at all costs – winning in the name of power and control – and if truth is the first casualty of the battle, so be it.

For me, the exercise of choosing suitable candidates becomes never allowing the political lies and rhetoric to cloud my view of the important issues – our quality of life, the debilitating effect of unchecked growth and massive sprawl in the absence of infrastructure, the motivations of those who have the financial wherewithal to ‘pay-to-play,’ judging our incumbent “leadership” based upon past performance rather than empty promises on a glossy mailer and determining who has the best interests of my family and community at heart – and who is an instrument of special interests.

The information is out there – everything you need to make a sound, informed decision on what our collective lives will look like for the next term is a few short keystrokes away – or better yet, pick up the phone and call the candidate directly and ask the difficult questions.

Then engage your bullshit detector and choose wisely.