“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
Ol’ Plato knew what he was talking about, eh?
I don’t know who followed the old man around, scribbling down his rambling tangents on a piece of papyrus – but he had a million of them, like “Love is a serious mental disease,” and “Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.”
As relevant today as he was in 300 B.C.
I can tell you from personal experience that it takes some pluck to wade into the political fray here on Florida’s fabled Fun Coast. Regardless of your role – candidate, incumbent, strategist or ardent supporter – it is not for the faint-hearted.
But it is incredibly important.
Politics at all levels is a dirty business in 2020 – because elections have consequences – and even casual observers are subject to get some on them if they get too close to the edge of the slit-trench.
Don’t believe me?
Take a gander at some of the popular social media sites focusing on local political issues and you will get a glimpse of just how serious things can get when citizens feel backed into a corner and our quality of life is on the line. . .
Even a low-rent blogger like me – a trifling dilettante far removed from the morally and intellectually superior political editorialists and their irrefragable op/ed pieces – frequently gets drug behind the woodshed and beaten like a borrowed mule for having the sassiness to speak my twisted mind on the issues of the day.
Whatever. Comes with the territory.
Modern elections are high-stakes battles fought by real professionals – shadowy operatives, “opposition researchers” who can dig up skeletons with the skill and precision of a political paleontologist, “bundlers” who organize and collect campaign contributions, and savvy campaign managers and “road warriors” who keep all the plates spinning – organizing fundraising, polling, advertising, and motivating the true believers down in the trenches.
For reasons known only to my loyal readers, Barker’s View has gained a dedicated following that drives thousands of views each month – a readership that grows daily during election cycles.
Clearly, that popularity has nothing to do with the quality of the writing, and everything to do with the fact Volusia County voters are starved for an alternative opinion on the issues we collectively face.
After all, I don’t bring anything new to the table – or offer solutions to the intractable civic, social, and economic problems we face.
I simply say what many are thinking but cannot express publicly because of the weird nature of our artificial economy – which consists of the same five people passing the same nickel around.
Let’s face it, the Halifax area isn’t exactly a bastion of alternative thought – especially when those opinions contradict the views and motives of a handful of uber-wealthy political puppetmaster’s with a profit motive.
That’s when things get downright testy – and I am proud to see so many courageously stepping up to finally make their voice heard.
In local political circles, whenever potential voters gather at a common watering hole to read and share opinions – that equates to influence – and that makes our ‘powers that be’ uncomfortable.
I get it.
That is why I put my name on everything I write – and provide a means of allowing my detractors, or those with a differing point of view, to respond and drive a greater discussion of the issues.
I accept the stones and arrows that naturally fly whenever my goofy commentary hits too close to home, or challenges the carefully crafted narrative, of candidates and incumbents locked in the battle of their political lives.
If you choose not to be that open, I fully understand why, and respect your attempt to maintain privacy while contributing to the debate.
Because rarely have I seen the contentiousness and brutality of the rhetoric between friends and neighbors surrounding the Volusia County Chair race between Jeff “Plan B” Brower and his incumbent opponent, Councilwoman Deb Denys.
This one’s important – and I’m not the only one who thinks so. . .
Recently, I have read wild arguments on social media between those who openly support one candidate over another – calling into question the persons mental state or speculating on their true motivations – real Machiavellian scalp-taking – tossing long-standing personal, even familial, relationships on the ash heap over their Brower/Denys allegiance.
I suppose that is to be expected when the stakes are this high, and, perhaps the sacrifice and bridge burning is worth it.
I damn sure hope so. . .
The bright side of this political maelstrom is seeing so many good citizens – many of whom have never participated in the political process before – coming out in droves, speaking out on social media, waving signs, joining the discussion of contemporary issues, and fighting hard for the candidate who best represents their hopes, dreams and needs.
The fervent, no-holds-barred nature of citizen involvement in this year’s local contests should telegraph to all incumbent elected officials just how hungry their constituents are for transparency, meaningful participation, and a return to government of the people, by the people, and for the people in Volusia County.
Keep the faith.
And keep working hard for fundamental change in local governance.
In my view, the positive outcome of these hard-fought local races is that – never again – will our well-heeled political insiders, who purchase influence with massive campaign contributions to hand-select candidates, have unfettered control of our sacred democratic process – now that so many of our friends and neighbors have kicked off the traces, and proven their willingness to sacrifice all they hold dear to speak their mind and actively participate to ensure a bright future for all of us.