Letters to the Editor

Opa-locka tragedy

Your Dec. 25 article “Opa-locka residents pay a steep price for leaders’ graft, bungling” shows how human behavior has not changed in more than 2,000 years.

Shakedowns by city officials, mismanagement of money, arrest of public servants, suicide by a commissioner, a whistle blower fired for ethical conduct and city coffers bankrupted while a mayor kept spending is a story as old as antiquity.

It’s a Greek tragedy, and the ancient Greeks had a word for this — kakistocracy: Government run by the worst, least qualified or most unscrupulous citizens.

Clearly, Opa-locka’s leaders did not rule with the wisdom of Plato’s philosopher-king.

As the historian and moralist Lord Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

Democracy requires an educated and engaged citizenry, as well as a free press uprooting corruption and abuses of power, to keep kakistocracy from killing our communities.

Michael B. Reiner, Coral Gables