Wednesday, November 19, 2008
You are residents of Dreyton, and when you woke this AM, it was burning. What would you think if your mayor said these words in response to the riots?
Chapter 9 (Mayor Adam Dreyfus’ speech)
“First, ladies and gentleman, I would like to thank all of you for granting me this opportunity. I imagine that, given the circumstances surrounding this press conference, you have many questions, and it is my hope to address them all, accordingly, as well as to temper the fears of many residents of this city.” Adam’s tone was uncomfortably solemn, and he never lifted his head from the prepared text to see the audience of reporters. “I know many of you believe that someone is responsible for the mayhem that has fallen upon our city and begun to spread across the country. I know you think someone has to be held accountable. And if such is the case, then we must blame our own selves.” Then the mayor of this intrepid city finally looked up, and spoke without the assistance of his notes. “That is right. This is my fault. This is your fault. This is our fault.”
Those were unmistakably blunt words from a man who had spent his entire career finessing statements for public consumption, and they all knew it.
“It is truly difficult to begin assessing what went wrong, here, in Dreyton. After all, as recently as a few short weeks ago, many were hailing ours as one of the nation’s newest and greatest urban centers.” Adam took a deep breath, and then he went on. “In a few short years, we became a model for this new century, a new Mecca of civilization—proudly carrying the banners of the Third Wave, and deserving of a place among the leading cities in the world. We overcame the resistance to change. We suppressed our own fears and xenophobia. We succeeded in building something great; however, as it is now obvious, we failed miserably in sustaining it.
“In a way, it was our own success that led to this tragedy, because somehow we allowed ourselves to become jaded and arrogant. Many of us believed that our prosperity was a divine right, and that it made us immune to the horrors afflicting our distant fellows in the West African coast, in the Balkans, or even in Central America. We scoffed at the chaos in those unfortunate places, calling them ‘primitive’ and ‘uncivilized’. We often said, rather brazenly, ‘That kind of criminal anarchy could never happen here.’ Well, it is happening here.
“As we were scoffing at others beyond our borders, the successful and affluent among us were turning our backs to the disenfranchised of our own society. We were dividing our city not just racially, as we had in the past, but socio-economically as well. We created a situation that could not easily be ignored—a situation that was aptly reflected by unprecedented levels of violence in our streets and constant political battles, here, in the chambers of City Hall. We tolerated, even ignored, this madness for as long as we could, and when these situations grew too intense to call ‘normal’, we turned to our police and assembled political armies to protect our interests. We did not realize it at the time, but now we know that even the best of these law enforcers and politicos could not stem the rising tide. The collapse of order, even in this city, was only inevitable.
“Regardless of what many have thought, we Dreytonites have never evolved. We still lack the capacity to transcend our prejudices, our fears and our innate propensity for ignorance. And in my own most confident opinion, as the mayor of this city, I will go on record as saying that this was our undoing. No matter how much we have accomplished, it has meant nothing if we have not evolved as people with the same vigor and tenacity as the world we’ve created. We were—and still remain—nothing more than a bunch of apes, lucky in our quest to make things happen, but equally unfortunate in our ability to understand why they do.
“The rioting on the westbank and the similar acts of anarchy occurring across the country today are a loud testament to our collective failure to see farther and our refusal to work together in order to go further. Indeed, today we all shoulder the burden of these dark hours in our nation’s existence, simply because we have brought it upon ourselves.”
As he stood silently for a moment, Adam Dreyfus heard the murmurs from his audience.
“However, we cannot allow this day to mark the beginning of the end of civilization in our country. We cannot let lives continue to be lost and allow the dreams of our forefathers to die in the wake of this unbridled disorder.” Adam’s words grew even sharper, and with this newfound assertiveness, he boldly uttered the most powerful promise that he ever made to his constituents. “As I stand here before you now, as the mayor of this intrepid city, I swear to you, the people of Dreyton, that I will bring peace to this city, our city, before dawn.” Following those words, there was only deafening silence.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved; Axiom Strategy Advisors, LLC
Posted by Gary C. Harrell