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John Cazale, left, as Fredo Corleone in the Godfather, with Al Pacino as his brother, Michael. (Photo: Paramount).

The O’Toole Chronicles: Know Your Enemy

By Kevin O'Toole, August 24 2021 12:01 am

Treachery is one of those words we don’t often use in our daily lives, but it is often felt and seen in the world of politics.

Treachery invokes shades of treason and few amongst us can/will admit we have the makings to be treacherous. It brings me to one of the fundamentals of politics and life – know your enemy and the world gets easier to navigate. Keeping in mind that it is only a matter of time before you will run across some form of treachery. The lesson today is that you need to be aware that the treacherous behavior we are talking about is most deadly when it comes from our inner circle – think Roman or Ottoman empires.

Let’s break it down:

If you look back in history, it is usually the closest person to power that gives in to ego, greed, stupidity, or jealousy, thus beginning the unraveling of that power base.

Whether it be a power hungry protege, frustrated staffer, annoyed money backer, inept family member (we will be dedicating an entire future column on that one dimwitted sibling who thinks it is their moment to go prime time). The truth is that inevitably someone close to you thinks they are smarter and makes that move. If you are aware of it, no harm no foul. If you’re not, then don’t go near Bay Leaves.

We all have needed that rock-solid base of support to move forward and exist in this world. The trick to longevity is to understand that someone close to you will disappoint you and, in some cases, take the head shot at you. Fair warning has been given. When it comes to family, it doesn’t have to be the malicious willful intent to harm, it might be a “Fredo” like sibling who wants a little something for themselves and that selfishness and self-absorbency can result in a caustic ripple effect.

As I’ve written before, we don’t do this alone, we rely upon the help and sweat of many to achieve any measure of success. And that will never change.

To stay ahead in this game – understand the people around you and be aware that the treachery gene will surface at some time. When the moment does arrive, the last thing you want is to ignore the voice of Calpurnia or Spurinna and walk into the Theater of Pompey unprepared.

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