As most of you have figured out – I tend to overthink things. . .
I invariably take a deep dive on the issues that bother me, then let my mind wander; always searching for the “why” of the situation, a brooding, ruminative process that often begets more darker questions.
Perhaps this weird contemplative personality quirk comes from decades in law enforcement, where we practice the art and science of forensic investigation – gathering and analyzing items of physical evidence – blood, hairs, fibers, latent fingerprints, ballistics, toolmarks etc. – interviewing witnesses, interrogating suspects, developing timelines and determining the “who, what, when, how and why” of a crime.
Deductive “fact-based” reasoning leading to a logical and legal conclusion.
I’ve found that here on the Fun Coast, it’s difficult for most to begin dissecting the machinations of government, because most people tend to base their examination on the “message” – the official narrative – which is typically pushed as a series of “reframed” facts designed to reduce any negative impact or political criticism.
We receive what passes for “news” from paid governmental mouthpieces – “public information” professionals who are experts in spin and obfuscation – who present a biased interpretation of events as a means of influencing public opinion – then speak “for” our elected and appointed officials when the questions get tricky using canned “talking points” and soundbites.
It is an effective political insulation practice – one that removes any requirement that those we elect to represent our interests should have to think for themselves, formulate cogent answers to our questions and actually communicate with worried constituents.
The process isolates elected officials – cementing the impenetrable wall that separates “us from them” – barriers that are bolstered by talk of further limiting public participation in government (during a time we can’t even be in the same room together), putting “decorum” over citizen input while limiting the competition of debate, extending even more physical and emotional distance between citizens and our increasingly monarchical office-bearers.
Then, there are individual politicians who – in an attempt to paint themselves as a “maverick” – focus on manipulating the minutia of the official message, arguing semantics and inflating their contribution while quibbling process – a dramatic performance that only serves to expose their own ignorance of what’s actually happening outside the Ivory Tower of Power – the things that truly matter to us, the Little People.
Now, imagine a scenario where, as our local, state and national political systems continue to contract and centralize power in external forces with no political accountability, professional journalists and “news organizations” increasingly accept (even reinforce) the official propaganda of government when it serves mutual goals.
Well, welcome to our collective nightmare. . .
If the Coronavirus craze has exposed anything, it’s that “media driven hype” has a synergistic effect on our politicians inability to think for themselves – creating a situation where public policy is formulated, changed, then changed yet again – as local government attempts to mitigate the worst case scenarios and subjective projections of those who make a living selling the news – driving reader/viewership with sensationalized versions of reality.
Then, some just get it wrong – because its easier (and cheaper) for a news agency to simply regurgitate an emailed press release than actually seek the unvarnished truth. . .
For instance, in a recent article in The Daytona Beach News-Journal heralding the “opening” of Volusia County beaches, headlined: “Volusia beaches draw crowds: Reopening of county sands, surf for all activities met with cheers by people, but hesitancy still looms,” didn’t tell the whole story.
The fact is – Volusia County beaches are not open for “all activities” – and any suggestion to the contrary is simply misleading.
For instance, with the exception of highly regulated parking for persons with disabilities, vehicular access to our beach – a century old tradition that defines the Worlds Most Famous Beach – remains completely closed.
To that end, some $30,000 in CARE Act funds have been squandered on 1,800 “utility markers” which will mandate where visitors and residents may park on driving areas of the beach to force separation – an expenditure that passed muster with the Volusia County Council, even as thousands of families seek sustenance at overburdened food banks and small businesses succumb to the unfair mandates of government officials who haven’t lost one dime in salary or benefits since this lock-down began.
Off beach parking remains restricted.
Our ability to peaceably assemble in groups over six – or use our own judgement to maintain adequate social distancing – is officially controlled by unilateral edict of (I think) County Manager George Recktenwald, who continues to remind us that any violation of his diktats carries the possibility of arrest and prosecution for a second-degree misdemeanor.
And, if you do venture down to the beach, I hope you are close to home – or don’t have an aversion to emptying your bowels and bladder in the surf, among your friends, family and neighbors – because, for reasons known only to Volusia County officials, public restrooms remain closed to public use. . .
You read that right.
And, so far, I haven’t heard any working journalist question the reason “why”. . .
What a crock of shit (literally).