“Egomania is an obsessive preoccupation with one’s self and applies to someone who follows their own ungoverned impulses and is possessed by delusions of personal greatness and feels a lack of appreciation. Someone suffering from this extreme egocentric focus is an egomaniac. The condition is psychologically abnormal. The term egomania is often used by laypersons in a pejorative fashion to describe an individual who is intolerably self-centered”.
–Mark D. Griffiths, Ph.D., “A Long Self Life: A personal look at egomania,” Psychology Today, April 2014
It’s no secret that most politicians – especially those who ascend to a seat of power – have a pretty high opinion of themselves.
In fact, given the toxic nature of politics in 2020, megalomania appears to be a prerequisite, because most “normal” people recoil from the manure furnace that is modern political campaigns, regardless of how much money, perquisites, and privileges the office holds.
During my long career in public service, I had the pleasure of working with many servant-leaders who entered politics to help their community progress – and others who allowed their oversized ego to turn them into everything they hated when they took office.
It doesn’t take long for that transformation to become evident.
Last week, I took the Daytona Beach City Commission to task for their refusal to approve a reasonable coronavirus safety plan and issue special event permits for a toned-down Biketoberfest – a move that would have allowed struggling small businesses on Main Street and beyond to avoid economic collapse.
I was also hypercritical of their decision to regulate Go-X scooter rentals out of the core tourist area with draconian restrictions, including forcing a private business into a “license agreement” with the municipal government in order to operate in the city.
In turn, I thought it strange that Zone 3 Commissioner Quanita May insinuated herself into the mix by “negotiating” with Go-X behind the scenes – outside the view of her constituents or colleagues on the dais of power – something that took other commissioners by surprise and left Ms. May back-paddling for answers.
It was bullshit – and I called her on it.
(Don’t take my word for it – watch the archived Daytona Beach City Commission meeting of September 9, 2020.)
And, for many, it called into question what other ex parte “negotiations” she may have entered into with Halifax area businesses – and why?
Disturbingly, on September 16, during her weekly radio program, Commissioner May launched into a weird, passive-aggressive attack against me – and our sacrosanct First Amendment right to free speech – our inalienable right to self-expression as a check on government overreach – that allows an impartial sharing of all points-of-view, not just those of haughty elected officials.
Inexplicably, Ms. May allowed her overweening sense of self-importance to run rampant when she said:
“There are a few of you, are going to start calling me Ms. May.
You will not call me Quanita.
And you will not call me “Q”.
And you can address me by the title “Commissioner” May – or “Ms.” May.
“And that’s to those of you who feel compelled to go to Facebook and have articles – and those of you who feel compelled to write articles with inaccurate information where you rant, and you rave, and you carry on. . .”
(I guess “ranting, raving, and carrying on” is now solely limited to our Monarchical elected officials whenever they feel like haranguing lowly citizens from the dais?)
In my view, it appears “Commissioner” May has become, well, unhinged. . .
And, it was frightening to anyone who values our right to speak truth to power.
She went to condemn those who are “overly prolific and profuse with their use of language,” before singling me out (“Mr. Barker – dear, dear Mr. Barker, who so loves to overuse the English language…”) with a chilling warning that if I have something to say to her, or would like more information, then “I highly recommend you call me – and when you call me, sir, you can call me “Commissioner” May, by my elected official title, or you can call me Ms. May, and when you call me, I’m more than happy to have a conversation…”
She continued to ramble until warning me – pointblank – that if I have something to say, I can say it too her face – “don’t say it in print. . .”
In turn, “Ms.” May’s invective turned to asking that I telephone her so she can give me the “reality” of the situation. . .
Look, I’m not easily intimidated but, frankly, I was shocked by Ms. May’s threatening tone, should I refuse to take her “recommendation” or not use her exalted title, or become overly prolific with the English language when challenging her power – or, God forbid, reject her version of “reality.”
Look, I understand the complex nature of ego – especially in public figures who are forced to advance themselves against other strong personalities – but, I am not running for (or from) anything.
I’m just a simple-minded citizen observing the sausage being made from the cheap seats – providing my own goofy alternative opinion of local government in action – all while poking fun at the gross dysfunction, quid pro quo favoritism, and shameless self-promotion inherent to Volusia County politics – never presuming that the views of an elderly has-been like myself could stir such strong emotions from an all-powerful sitting official like “Commissioner” May.
Note to “Commissioner” May: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!
If I thought for one nano-second that “Ms.” May had a clue about the current plight of small businesses in the City of Daytona Beach, I would reach out in a heartbeat – but it has become increasingly clear that “Commissioner” May is missing the larger picture – beyond her own hyper-dramatic need to appear “engaged.”
Like thousands of others in the Halifax area, I’ve grown disillusioned by the anti-business stance of this iteration of the Daytona Beach City Commission – it is just part of why entrepreneurs and small businesses are actively moving out of Daytona Beach – running to the welcoming arms of other area communities who see the need for a diversity of commerce beyond the selfish wants and whims of our social and civic elite with the wherewithal to pay to play.
(As a loyal reader of these screeds, I am certain you know to whom I am referring, “Ms.” May – some of the most prolific recipients of public largesse are listed on your previous campaign finance reports. . .)
Regardless, We, The People, from which all government receives its power, should not be intimidated by the not-so-veiled threats of a powerful public official who ‘feels compelled’ to take to the airwaves and order that I, or anyone else, limit our criticism to forums she can control.
As for me, I will continue to write my personal opinions and frustrations on this alternative opinion blog in keeping with the sacred protections granted by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
And I will be as overly prolific and profuse as I damn well want to be.
Trust me, “Commissioner” May – in a couple of years when you’re no longer relevant to the conversation, I won’t mention you at all. . .
In the meantime, under those same inalienable freedoms, “Commissioner” May can either choose to read my opinion on the issues of the day – or not.
Photo Credit: City of Daytona Beach