We, the People - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2115809

We, the People

Who exactly is Michael Daly speaking to, for and about in his latest shared “take” [“Community or Commodity,” Letters, March 9]?

Pronouns, it has come to pass, are significant, symbolic signifiers, especially when one is as self-promoting and rapidly transitioning as Michael Daly — in this instance, going fluidly from real estate salesman, self-appointed preacher, community provocateur and YIMBY proselytizer to historian and spokesman.

“Let’s talk about preservation,” says Daly, assuming debate posture. Effecting a pompous, professorial stance and tone, he hops and skips like a mountain goat over the peaks of history. Post-colonialism on eastern Long Island produced a heritage of fishing, farming, tourism and the arts, he says in one fell leap. Post-colonial tourism? Like: Grab the stagecoach on the Bloomingdale Road and head out to Gurney’s for a day of rest and grog?

A further logic-defying leap: “Colonialism and development put a major strain on our environment.” This is tantamount to saying: The way that Henry VIII treated his wives and the Beatles caused Brexit and Harry and Meghan to bolt.

The Daly oration continues: “Roads, cars, traffic emissions, septic systems, fertilizers, chemicals, fossil fuel heating systems, light pollution — all have put enormous stress on our environment.” What about the equal offender, “post-colonialism”? Horse dung, potato fields, candles, fetid canals and all the rest of that colonial excess that landed us where we are. Anything happen in between?

Now, successfully, or so he imagines, transitioning from real estate salesman to statesman, he states, in his usual unctuous tone: “It’s time to focus on preservation of our people now as well.” I am focused, instead, on who exactly he is speaking to, and what exactly does he mean by “our people”? As opposed to?

One could lift the ignorance and arrogance out of his words and plop them into a parlor game. In my opinion, this latest attempt to add ballast to his blather is part of his pitch to be picked to be on the town’s advisory committee formed to control and administer the sluice of Community Housing Fund money, about to gush from the state free of federal zoning and onerous conditions. Imagine that boon to development.

If selected, Daly will have made the transition back from sententious blowhard, preaching as if he had established consensus from a flock, to have influence over development and real estate interests. Do any of “you” who have witnessed his performances want to grant him authority and power?

And here’s a flash from history, for Mr. Daly: The “we” of “We, the people …” means we, the people, speak for ourselves. The colonialists, in their time, fought hard and died for this great privilege.

So, people, “we,” — you, I — must weigh carefully letting anyone speak for us.

Frances Geneovese