I'm taking a bit of time out of pimping and promoting the blog party Wednesday night to talk about something deathly serious. That topic is Delegate Don Dwyer's arrest early Tuesday morning on DUI charges. This is only mere months after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a drunken boating accident that injured several people, including children. And it comes right on the heels of this bizarre story from Tuesday, where apparently Dwyer was assaulted and intimidated and pushed into water and humiliated by some dude on PCP on Sunday.
This is sad to see.
If Don Dwyer is still a Delegate when the Ethics Committee takes up his case, I would be surprised. He should resign and resign now. But not for the reason you may think.
Yes, he has had two incidences of drunken behavior that have resulted in arrest in a year's timespan. While serving as a public elected official. It's embarrassing behavior.
But in my opinion, Don Dwyer shouldn't resign in order to clean the conscience of his District and in order to show he's oh so sorry for what he's done. He should resign because he needs treatment for a disease called alcoholism that I am going to be bold and a little inappropriate to suggest that he has. And compared to the potential danger to his health and the health of others, sitting in the House of Delegates right now is trivial.
Of course someone with alcoholism can achieve in society. Millions do, every day. But for where he is, he needs to take a step back and examine his situation. Decide if his life has become unmanageable. I would suggest it has!
But, here is the kicker. Here is the beautiful, yet frustrating thing about how recovery from alcoholism works. He has to make a decision. Don Dwyer has to decide that he is powerless over alcohol and that he wants to become a sober person. Is he at this point? I can't speak to this moment, but as of early Tuesday morning, he was not.
So any punditry or talking headedness about Don Dwyer's political strategy and what this means for 2014 should just go pound sand. Right now Don Dwyer may just feel like one of the loneliest people on earth. And he should. But he has the power to pull himself out of that feeling. And how he does it is to not listen to political allies, friends, lawyers, media, even family. He has to be alone with what's left of his soul and decide that he doesn't want to live life like this any more.
What Don Dwyer decides in the days and weeks to come will suggest whether he is truly ready to come out of the rain, and whether or not we have seen the worst of his behavior. Whether he responds with defiance or humility, contrition or anger, will determine whether he wants to become a better man. And that decision is far more important, and difficult, than the decision to let his seat in the Maryland House of Delegates go.