The sordid tale of Dan Halloran ended in June when he entered prison. How he will emerge is anyone’s guess. Even if he appeals the sentence and gets it reduced, he will still spend years behind bars. Frankly, as long as he stays out of my path, I do not care.
Dan Halloran, leader of his own branch of Theodism and an elder in the Ring of Troth / Troth, made a bid for a New York City Council seat in 2009. Considering the size of New York, it is almost like being on the ruling council of a small country. Many Heathens approved of this. Quite a few suggested that even those who disliked Dan should support him. I declined. Heathen or not, I wanted nothing to do with him.
There were a few questionable elements to Halloran’s campaign. For one thing, he harped on his Irish Catholic roots during his election. That rankled a few Heathens. Halloran seemed to want to distance himself from Heathenism. Later, after a scathing Village Voice article pilloried him, Halloran remarked that he should have taken down his Theod website sooner.
In office, Halloran was a mixed bag. He was articulate and gave the Republican view on a few Sunday morning political talk shows. By the same token, during a blizzard he accused the Department of Sanitation workers of staging a work slowdown. That blew up in his face. Meanwhile, his personal life started taking damage. There was a matter of bankruptcy and a divorce caused by adultery. Dan had a dalliance with an intern half his age. The girl’s roomate gave a few unflattering statements about the portly politician. Halloran also had faced forelcosure.
The end of the matter was a corruption and bribery case in 2013. Halloran was indicted by the federal prosecutor for trying the buy a mayoral candidacy for a politician from the other party. There were other charges, Transcripts left little doubt as to what happened. In the end, Halloran was convicted and sentenced The judge was offended by Halloran’s demeanor, and indignant that Halloran was a civil servant and had once been a prosecutor. His sentence exceeded what had been asked by the Federal prosecutor. Dan received a ten year sentence with two years of supervised release.
A milepost for every up-and-coming ethic group, religion and social group is getting their members into places of public prominence. Elected offices, positions of authority, fame in sports and entertainment, and individuals who make a difference can take a group from obscurity and suspicion to mainstream acceptance. I am sure some of our fellow Heathens hoped for that with Halloran. However, prominence alone is no guarantor of acceptance. One who rises to the top brings both his assets and his flaws with him. Many a prominent person has been involved in a sordid scandal. Mainstream groups get no flak when one of theirs offends. Those not in the mainstream can have their reputations tarnished by the mischief of a conspicuous member of their group.
With any small up-and-coming group, each member is an ambassador. Fair or not, the reputation of the group can hinge on the example made by its members. The more prominent and conspicuous the member, the larger the impression he creates.
Say what you will about Dan Halloran, but his time in office did not do Heathenism’s reputation any good.
For our reputation, we need to be strict in deciding whom we will support. Otherwise, his or her actions could very well blow up in our faces. Just making it into a prominent position is not enough cause to lend our names and reputations to the person. We must also ascertain the degree of character that individual possesses. We do well to back a person of character, but risk humiliation if we support someone who is a character but lacks character.