Monday, February 15, 2021

A World Without Honor
Since getting involved in politics, I've learned that the political world is one without honor, though I find myself still hopeful to find a glimmer now and again. 

I've always kept the subject of personal honor and courage foremost in my mind. Maybe it's because I'm such a fan of The D'Artagnan Romances - the adventurous stories of Alexandre Dumas' Musketeers, who always act appropriately in the service of a calling higher than themselves who drew a clear line in the sand:
A rogue does not laugh in the same way that an honest man does; a hypocrite does not shed the tears of a man of good faith. All falsehood is a mask; and however well made the mask may be, with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it from the true face.
Nowhere is this contrast more clearly drawn than in the absurd theater of local politics. Here, the honorable are the cannon fodder for those I'll call "The Honorless" - politicos, whether elected or not, who think that by simply typing the title "honorable" before their names bestows some virtue tupon them. 

Doing good work has become an externality of political expediency. No one in politics does the "right thing" for the sake of just doing "the right thing." Peoples' words are broken if they even honestly given at all. 

Maybe I'm even more naive than most, because I believe someone's word was even given in the first place. I'd probably be more accurate in saying that these "Honorless" out-and-out lie to your face as if it was an art form. 

"The Honorless" maneuver, cajole, and ultimately screw over good, honorable people over - all to be the head of their little fiefdom as they maintain whatever a illusory power they think they have. Everyone wants to be king of their own little anthill. What set "The Honorless" apart is their willingness to compromise their core values (or what is left of them) to sit on top.

I've been very lucky in politics. I have searched out and found people who have proven themselves time and again to be honorable. More often than not, they are involved in politics as an activity outside of earning their livelihood. More often than not, they want to accomplish something bigger than themselves - and something other than feathering their own nest.

I've largely stayed away from "The Honorless." I've never been beholden to their whims for my livelihood, so I can come and go in politics as I please. But I'm no Musketeer, either - though even they had their faults. I can't say that I haven't compromised at times - of course I've have. Everyone in politics does something they would prefer not to do. For me, those instances have often involved putting the needs of an organization before of my opinion, or where decisions were made "above my pay grade." An unfortunate, but necessary, evil.

My friend and co-host on the former Brooklyn GOP Radio / Behind Enemy Lines Radio, Russell Gallo, has often asked rhetorically "what would happen if good people who see something wrong idly stand by and do nothing?" We've seen that it's a cycle, really. Good, well-intended people get involved, then either buy-in or get disenchanted and leave as the next crop of the willing emerges. I guess that's why they call it "machine" politics - there's always a need to feed the machine. 

Having been out of the machine for some time now, I can look at myself in the mirror and honestly say that I have never and will never allow myself to sell anyone out for personal or political gain. That also means I'm unlikely to "get far" in politics.  But, at least I'll get my full eight hours of sleep nightly. 

Gene Berardelli is a street-smart attorney with with over fifteen years of experience in civil and commercial litigation. Gene has achieved several career achievements, including successfully settling a seven-figure personal injury claim, successfully arguing before the New York State Appellate Division and successfully representing clients in trial litigation, mediations and arbitrations against such recognizable entities as the City of New York, New York City Transit Authority, JPMorgan Chase, TD Wealth Management Services, Inc., The Long Island Railroad, and Macy*s. Gene is also a noted New York Election Law expert who has had his opinions cited in scholarly works and published in news and feature articles.

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