The Politics of Cowardice

Call me a soothsayer – but I knew this shit was going to happen. . .

When the CDC announced the COVID-19 vaccine priority groups – which rightfully give precedence to the elderly and infirm over the young and healthy, as well as essential healthcare workers battling the virus on the frontline – I joked with friends that I was trying to figure a way to weasel my way to the front of the line, given the fact I can easily pass for 85 years old. . . 

I knew in my heart that this sick joke of mine would eventually become a reality, as craven members of our “power elite” jump the line on the flimsy excuse of ‘setting the example,’ as they put their own selfish, lily-livered interests above those most at risk.  

On Wednesday, my worst fears came true when Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry epitomized the arrogance of power by placing himself above his elderly, infirm, and most vulnerable constituents – abusing his status as a low wattage political hack – to receive the vaccine at Halifax Health ahead of first-responders, EMS personnel, police officers, firefighters, telecommunicators, postal workers, grocery clerks, truck drivers, aged shut-ins who have been living in near total isolation for a year, essential workers, your grandparents, etc., etc.     

Unbelievable.

I mean, did he use the patented Henry “Do you know who I am?” technique – or the vainglorious “Look at me, I’m setting an example for you” ruse? 

Rather than wait his turn behind those who are 65 and over – or the men and women who are bravely exposing themselves to provide care and comfort to those afflicted – in my view, Mayor Henry commits the dreadful act of a base coward – the equivalent of throwing women and children out of a lifeboat – in a craven move to save himself. 

It was the ultimate in political privilege and gross entitlement – a gutless politician boasting of his elite status on social media from the very hospital where coronavirus victims lay sick and dying. 

My God.

At a time when we desperately need service-based leadership from our elected and appointed officials – the essence of which is placing the safety and comfort of others before their own – we are forced to watch in utter disgust as tin-pot politicians shove the weak and susceptible out of their way.

Despicable. 

In my view, Mayor Henry lost the moral authority to lead the exact second he ensured his personal protection over those who need it most.   

Unfortunately, Derrick Henry is not alone.

Frightened politicians at all levels of government have shamed themselves in the face of this public health crisis on both sides of aisle, using their haughty positions to receive preferential treatment – while those who truly need it are forced to stand in queue for what remains – or die alone in a hospital bed. 

This isn’t ‘politics’ – its a shameful lack of courage in the face of danger.

Fortunately, in the wake of Mayor Henry’s reprehensible act, brave leaders like Sheriff Mike Chitwood and New Smyrna Mayor Russ Owen have publicly condemned the spineless practice of politicians cutting the inoculation line.

According to Sheriff Chitwood, “We don’t need every Congressman, every Governor, every Mayor and every Sheriff in America taking a valuable vaccine dose just to send a message. The message I want to send is that those who need the vaccine should get it before any politician. Get the vulnerable onto the lifeboats first before you save yourself.”

That is what leadership looks like, folks.

We are hearing from a hodgepodge of social media sites, Tweets, and conflicting news blurbs that early next week, Volusia County residents 65+ will have the option of traveling all the way out to Daytona Stadium on LPGA Boulevard and entering “The Thunderdome” – a dystopian first come, first served drive-thru free-for-all where you may, or may not, receive an inoculation from what the Florida Department of Health has described as a “limited supply.”

The vaccination site is being “managed” by the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County in partnership with the City of Daytona Beach.

No appointments. No reservations. All the organization of a cattle stampede.

Because that’s how we do it in Volusia County. . .

Good luck.

In my view, Mayor Henry should immediately resign and make way for someone – anyone – with the physical, mental, and moral fortitude to lead during these dangerous and difficult times.  

20 thoughts on “The Politics of Cowardice

  1. While I totally agree with your position, I wonder whether receiving the vaccine will, in the end, be a smart move? I am over 65, but will not be queuing up for a shot. As i understand it, this is new technology. As is usual with vaccines, there is no recourse if there are side effects. This vaccine, in particular, protects everyone envolved in the production from legal recourse.

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    1. Doug getting away from a vaccine to a politician how does a 47 year old man with 50 arrests and put away 8 times and lost his drivers license in 2000 drive 120 mph the wrong way on 95 and kills innocent.people? This is nothing new as crime is up because cities and judges and POLITICIANS have no bail.What is wrong with the judicial system.? We are talking about a dirtbag politician.Daytona crime is on many lists of the worst cities for crime in the USA.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I moved here 4 years ago and learned of Dumbrick Henrys history and he only had to quit his job and Charlie Crist fired him as a commissioner and only got a fine I said look at this twice elected pos.Shame you people vote by party not by qualifications.Worst schools are in Daytona.Best deals for builders in Daytona .Get rid of this dirtbag.You voters in Daytona deserve what you vote for.My wife and I are over 65 and both recovering from covid .Science cant tell us when we can take the vaccine or if I who takes $12K a month in chemo pills can take the vaccine.Dumbrik rot and quit.HAPPY BETTER NEW YEAR CANT GET WORSE.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In the 14 years I’ve lived in Daytona, there had always been a lack of good governance (except for a few). This situation is no different. Did we really expect this vaccine rollout to be any different. Anyone from Volusia, 65+ can get in que to maybe get a shot. Then only 2000, well maybe less since Henry and his cronus already got theirs. What a sham of a government.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Many years ago while serving as Mayor of Ormond Beach, representatives of our hospital approached me and asked if I would agree to have a colonoscopy (for which I would pay) and allow the hospital to video it as a public service announcement to encourage those like me who were over 50 to have a colonoscopy. Obviously a different situation … but the aspect of politicians serving as role models is real.
    In the case of the vaccine, there are many reasons for wide spread concern … some fact based and some hysteria based. Many of my friends have publicly stated they will not get vaccinated. As a 70 year old who has recovered from COVID19 and given convalescent plasma 5 times and counting, I have not yet decided what I will do when faced with the decision as to whether to be vaccinated or not. Much of the hesitancy related to being vaccinated stems from the concerns of the same right wing conservatives (of which I am one) who supported President Trump’s project warp speed to bring the vaccine to fruition by the end of 2020. Because of the public debate regarding the efficacy and potential deliterious effects of the vaccine there are many who are not yet ready to be vaccinated and thus there IS a call for (political, religious, sports and entertainment) “leaders” to set an example by being vaccinated. I believe Mayor Henry appropriately answered that call to set an example.
    Think what you want to about Mayor Henry’s policies and his local, state & federal positions (many of which I disagree with) and his personal background, but I respectfully believe his stepping up to receive the vaccine was an act of public service leadership … and so I respectfully disagree with you calling him out saying his action is “despicable “ and calling for his resignation.
    To be clear, if Mayor Henry’s wife (a brilliant and well accomplished leader in her own right) receives the vaccination prior to seniors and first responders and health care heroes receiving it … I would agree that would be an inappropriate abuse of position.
    As always, even when we disagree I appreciate reading about local (and beyond) issues through your perspective.

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    1. A political hack rationalizing/justifying another political hacks bullshit! Your often used comment is right again Mark,
      ‘Ya can’t make this shit up’

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I have subsequently read that Major Henry’s wife also received the vaccine. As I mentioned in my comments above, I consider that to be an “inappropriate abuse of position.” Unlike many others, I do believe there is a time for elected officials to “lead by example” … if Mayor Henry had received the vaccine to demonstrate to his constituents who are vacillating about getting it that it is safe AND his wife had not received the vaccine to demonstrate that she/they did not believe they had the privilege to jump the line but rather needed to fight COVID19 like the rest of us until their turn (after those who are most vulnerable, seniors, front line health care workers and first responders, teachers …) that would have been a different story.

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  5. He’s not only a coward, he is a racist discriminating against the elderly and disabled with the blatant barrier imposed by only two porta-potties for the last demograpic that could be expected to be able to walk long distances to stadium bathrooms.
    Men are men. Politicians may enjoy an occasional prostate exam, but men 65 and older take a different view. We tend to tinkle often, and we respect our beautiful ladies. We aren’t about to take one of only two-porta-potties available for all the disabled and elderly ladies who can’t walk around a stadium, but some of us can’t walk that far either. Maybe we should line up outside our line of cars and make a movie. “A River Runs Through the Vaccination Location” sounds like a good title. Go ahead and arrest us, The damages we will receive from the illegal discrimination would make the overturned arrest solid gold.
    Stop the discrimination Mr Mayor. I am not one of your subjects and I am not asking. Listen to me or listen to federal prosecutors who can turn off the spigot to every higher authority dollar Daytona needs. I defended freedom of choice in my career, now make the choice on whatevee is left in your own career as an elected official who violates federal law.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. When asked the other day whether or not he would take the vaccine, Governor DeSantis in declining the offer said, “I’m an elected official but woop de doo”.

    PS: There are so many skeletons in the dentist’s closet there, his foray into apologetics on this website, reads as some form of mea culpa. Always amazed me what a shameless soul he was (still is).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Shocked…shocked I say! To learn that Henry passed it off by saying a staffer set it up, shouldn’t surprise anyone that while taking credit for leadership, he is also passing blame to someone else. You can’t have it both ways, DEEE-WRECK!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Just drove by the stadium. 5 cars in line. Gates are closed. Guest the seniors will have to bring some paper bags to relieve themselves. Who are the idiots responsible for this mess?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d say the Daytona Beach Mayor, the subject of this posting, actually probably done by the long time ‘Real Mayor’, Mr Chisholm!

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