“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
A good magician has the ability to help us suspend reality through the use of practiced legerdemain, sleight-of-hand, and the use of misdirection – clever deceptions and convincing lies that allow the audience to suspend disbelief – to actually believe that the magician has produced a lovely bouquet of flowers from a silk handkerchief.
We, the uninitiated rubes, look on from our seats – full of skepticism and smug intellect, our heightened senses all focused on figuring out the mechanics of the “trick” to foil the magicians surprise – but we never do.
Perhaps it is because, subconsciously, we want to believe the alternate reality created by the showman’s wholly contrived narrative.
In 1817, the author and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge introduced the term “suspension of belief,” suggesting that if “…a writer could infuse a “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgement concerning the implausibility of the narrative.”
It is that interruption of logic and critical thinking that allows us to enjoy works of fiction and horror movies – and permits polished politicians to pull the wool over our eyes time-and-time again – as we seek to protect ourselves by accepting their deceptive narrative of “what will be” over the harsh realities of the present.
This suspension of disbelief also allows civic atrocities like East International Speedway Boulevard, the stagnation of our core tourist area, the maladministration of our beach, malignant sprawl, and debacles like the never-ending saga of the Tom Staed Veteran’s Memorial Bridge to occur with such frightening frequency.
We want to believe that what our senior elected “leadership” tells us is true!
We need to have faith in our democratic institutions – the concept of fairness, equality, and inclusion in governance.
This concept is never more evident than during a local election cycle, when we stand in awe – jaws agape – as perennial politicians spin yarns that we know are bald-faced lies, carefully crafted soundbites and persuasive fables designed to sway our sacred vote – even as we see the destructive results of their previous reign with our own eyes.
The slash-and-burn clear-cutting to make way for another abominable strip center, the roar of the bulldozers as thousands of acres of our sensitive wetlands and wildlife habitat is churned into a black muck to accommodate tens-of-thousands of zero lot line wood frame cracker boxes in the next “theme” community, or another sinkhole gives way as our freshwater aquifer is depleted – all while our transportation and utilities infrastructure continues to crumble under the pressure.
For instance, last week, during The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s virtual “debate” between candidates for Volusia County Chair, the wholly compromised incumbent Councilwoman Deb Denys, did her level best to convince voters that – despite all evidence to the contrary – she has the “leadership skills needed” to get us out of the quagmire she helped create.
In the News-Journal’s candidate bio, Dishonest Deb listed her “profession” as “County Councilwoman,” and suggested that her top three priorities – after eight long years on the County Council – remain “Jobs and the economy, water protection and funding of the community’s infrastructure needs.”
Only in the mystical world of local politics would a sitting elected official ask for another bite at the apple after being granted eight years to make a substantive difference – yet failed miserably to establish trust, acknowledge the needs and wants of constituents, improve our artificial economy, or protect the quality of our limited water supply – even as the once crystal clear DeLeon Springs looks like the Ganges this morning due to silt intrusion from sinkholes which crater the ground as our aquifer is sucked dry.
Despite her “I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about” shoulder shrugs, Ms. Denys knows in her heart that during a previous election cycle she billed herself as a champion of beach driving – openly vowing never to close any additional sections of our beach to public driving and access.
When the chips were down, Dishonest Deb turned-tail and viciously stabbed her supporters in the back by doing the bidding of her political benefactors and voting to gift Hard Rock Daytona a traffic-free beach. . .
In turn, We, The Little People, explained in a clear, united voice that our abysmal lack of trust in Volusia County government was the primary factor in the sound defeat of their incredibly expensive half-cent sales tax initiative last year.
Unfortunately, Dishonest Deb ignored our collective voice – instead, she continues to tout the importance of allowing Volusia County to get even deeper under the influence of that mysterious Star Chamber of self-serving millionaires at the Volusia CEO Business Alliance – or encouraging even more corporate welfare projects through that do-nothing world travel club over at Team Volusia.
According to a quote in the News-Journal, “I’ve never seen such a strong sense of who Volusia County is and who we are,” said Denys. “The leaders working together with the CEO Alliance and Team Volusia and our cities and getting through this COVID pandemic. Volusia County is strong. We know who we are.”
We know who we are?
We are a damnably depressed artificial economy – with a per capita income south of $30,000, and a median household income of just $46,700 – leaving 29% of Volusia County households considered “Asset limited, Income constrained, Employed” – with 14% of households living in poverty and an increasing scarcity of affordable housing.
We have the worst managed beach of any coastal county in Florida – a strand that has become an ugly forest of poisoned pressure treated posts, plastic parking stakes, “do this/don’t do that” signage and traffic barriers that have destroyed the natural beauty of our most precious natural amenity.
We’ve proven beyond any doubt that our ‘powers that be’ have no qualms about approving the wholesale destruction of our natural places from Farmton to the Flagler County line – and, for years, our Volusia County Council knowingly looked the other way as the very same developers who fund their political campaigns were granted discounted impact fees until the sham was exposed.
Our elected and appointed officials continue to demonstrate an almost personal hatred of public involvement in local government – attempting to even further suppress our ability to prostrate ourselves before the Monarchical elites and beg for their mercy and benevolence – even as they openly kiss the sizable asses of their political overseers who use our tax dollars like a private piggy bank in tax abatement, infrastructure improvements and “economic development” incentives.
We are a cautionary tale among the real economic players in the region.
Yeah. We know who we are, alright. . .and Dishonest Deb is clearly living in a fantasy world of her own making.
That is what the arrogance of power allows – the ability to lie to oneself with utter confidence and a sense of infallibility.
In my view, it’s time for voters to recognize Ms. Denys’ disastrous history of protecting the status quo – as her uber-wealthy political benefactors demand – and once and for all get us out of this sluggish, ill-inspired, and visionless quagmire that continues to make Volusia County the laughingstock of Central Florida.