In a famous scene from the Broadway play Billy Rose’s Jumbo, a police officer stops Jimmy Durante who is leading a live elephant and asks, “What are you doing with that elephant?”
Durante’s reply, “What elephant?”
I was reminded of that comedic exchange this week. . .
Despite the consternation this blog site continues to bring to the Hallowed Halls of Power in DeLand and beyond, I remain a Quixotic rube lost in the wilderness – nothing more – a bombastic blowhard with internet access who pontificates on the issues of the day – and ponders on the perennial politicians, insiders and bureaucratic do-nothings that, in my view, are actively destroying our quality of life – clumsily plowing forward with no semblance of a comprehensive vision for our future other than an insatiable appetite for more tax dollars.
It’s why I’m easy to dismiss as a hypercritical lunatic.
But sometimes I stumble upon an uncomfortable reality it seems no one but me wants to talk about. . .
Between the weird political Couéism that continues to permeate most public meetings – the recurrent self-aggrandizing autosuggestion of “Day by day in every way we’re getting better and better” – I notice a sustained attack on those citizens who are critical of the political intrigues and missed opportunities to encourage public input in solving some of the most vexing civic, social and economic problems of our time.
Quite simply, no one who should will listen, and they haven’t for a long while now.
The ingrained trait of turning a deaf ear to our concerns is embodied in many elected officials who obsessively refuse to accept the public’s voice – the Will of the People – especially when it relates to questions that have already been put to a vote.
Earlier this week, the Knights of the Roundtable – a bizarre shadow régime comprised of mayors, managers, county officials and various parasitic hangers-on, led by the illustrious Illuminati at the Volusia CEO Business Alliance – resurrected the specter of the half-cent sales tax initiative which was resoundingly rejected by the electorate just six-months ago.
From Amendment 10 to the sales tax debacle, when will they listen to the voice of the people?
It is an insult to our intelligence – and our revered democratic system – to continue repackaging this shameless money grab and putting back on the ballot until they get the answer they desire.
That’s not how this works.
Our ‘powers that be’ asked the question in the very expensive manner and format they were told would be most advantageous for the desired outcome – and we answered.
Loud and clear.
What I never hear is a substantive discussion by our elected officials – particularly on the Volusia County Council – regarding the real reason this referendum ended in defeat:
The universal distrust of disenfranchised citizens – and our well-founded suspicion that this oligarchic sham that passes for governance here on Florida’s fabled Fun Coast no longer represents our interests – or bears any resemblance to a representative democracy.
In fact, at this weeks roundtable, the always arrogant County Councilwoman Deb Denys condescendingly dismissed the notion that the public’s trust played any role in the defeat of the sales tax – and joined CEO Business Alliance president Kent Sharples (whose involvement in debacles from the American Music Festival to the downfall of Bethune-Cookman University are legendary) in frightening us all with scary stories of losing out on pie-in-the-sky deals with SpaceX and United Launch Alliance if we don’t tax ourselves NOW.
“Saying the sales tax failed because of a lack of trust is not the answer, I’m sorry that answer is wrong from here on out,” Denys crowed.
“There’s too much at stake.”
How dare you. I mean, what happened to the common human emotion of shame?
Sorry, Deb. You’re not going to devalue our concerns and sidestep responsibility that easily.
Not this time.
Rather than confront the elephant in the room, our elected dullards stumble about in some stupor of conceit – unable to comprehend that We, The People would deny the very same elected and appointed numbskulls who got us into this damnable infrastructure quagmire in the first place even deeper access to our wallets.
That’s the uncomfortable truth no one in a position of official or unofficial power wants to address.
“What elephant?” indeed. . .
In my view, no one who truly cares about the real needs and concerns of their long-suffering constituents should expect us to forgive, forget and hand over more of our hard-earned money to those who have proven unworthy of our sacred trust.
In my view, it’s time we begin that difficult discussion.