On March 27 Heather White celebrates her birthday. Wishes come from family and friends.
Trevor Watton celebrates his birthday on March 29. Very special wishes for a happy day from family and friends.
On April 12 Jim Payne and Fergus O’Byrne will be at Citadel House for a concert. Tickets are expected to sell out for this show so call 535-0884 to reserve yours in advance — $20 single $35 family. Doors open at 7 p.m.
On Monday of last week I went for a walk and stepped in a pothole. Yesterday when I walked out of it the sun was shining and the air had warmed up somewhat. There is a blue reflection of the sky on the ice now that gives it a decidedly glacial appearance that for Newfoundlanders indicates spring is coming. It’s a sign, like a red-breasted robin is a sign, that the season of mud is on its way.
This week I want to talk about politics. Not the specific candidates or the issues but rather a more general look at it.
Because let’s face it, politics in this province is bizarre and therefore highly interesting and very complex. I’ve formed my opinions over the past year and I have strong ones on certain issues.
Mostly though, I’ve been observing.
And as I watch one question that I always ask is whatever would motivate a person to enter into that mess. Over time I’ve concluded that there are only two reasons.
The first would be ambition. There is a great deal of power and certainly a nice income that comes from being elected to office at any level above the municipal arena. A person who wants to make a name for themselves and to sink their teeth into the challenge of making themselves an MHA, MP, cabinet minister, premier, or prime minister would certainly be possessing a considerable amount of ambition.
The second would be a desire to serve the people because the core essence of the political job is to represent and serve the people. It’s what the job is about.
There is nothing wrong with ambition. I possess a great deal of it myself though it’s not for money or fame or anything that silly but rather to write and publish the stories of the people of this province and specifically the islands of Newfoundland. I want them to be read so that people know what people did back then so that we could become who we are. I will admit, I wouldn’t mind making a few dollars also, few being the key word since there isn’t much to be made for even the bestselling author but it’s nice to have money.
A good balance of ambition and a desire to serve the people would be optimal.
Sometimes however there is an imbalance and people enter for the wrong reasons. Or they enter for the right reasons and are swayed from their principles when other opportunities are placed before them.
The serving of the people then becomes secondary to the ambition for their own gain. They forget that they’re the voice of the people and that their first mandate is to the region they serve. There is a term “servant driven leaders” that comes to mind when I look at the politicians out there and I must admit that I’m drawn to those who have a rapport with people who are in their constituency rather than those who get along best with the politicians around them. I desire strong-willed people in politics who will fight for me not themselves. Throw in a dash of common sense, a willingness to admit their errors and a never ending connection to the community they represent well beyond the ribbon cutting ceremonies and photo op campaigns and that’s what I want in a representative.
People who are self-serving rarely get far in politics in the sense that, while they may get elected, often their reputation as uncaring eventually becomes their downfall. This democracy doesn’t allow for job security. Every few years the people get to choose and if the people don’t know or like you as a person, they’re not going to vote for you as a politician. And they may get loud and voice their opinions during your term in office. A good politician listens to those voices also and acts accordingly.
Am I an idealist? Sure, but I’m also a realist. And reality says that you may get elected on perceived ability but if people aren’t connected to your humanity they’re not going to trust that ability whatsoever. You may get to the top, but the slide to the bottom will be that of a Kindergartener in a playground, fast though not entirely as much fun.
And now as the baby blue sky is reflected in the white ice that stretches from the island to the big land, and the odd robin chirps from a fence post in the snow, while spring is in the air and sunrays crown thy pine clad hills, let’s hope those who have the power use that power for those who elected them and not for their own gains. And let’s hope they remember that while robins get to perch of fences, it’s no place for a representative of the people to sit. If you sit on the fence, you’ll wind up with a picket in your arse. Take a stand and make sure when you do, it’s the same stand as most of those who elected you. Be ambitious for them. It’s in the job description.
Continuing the diary from last week where I finished off.
Diary of Justinian Dowell from May 27 to June 3, 1879. Note the reference to Whitmonday which is the Monday after the day of Penticost and there were prayer services both that morning and the following day.
Tuesday May 27—Wind southerly still, some rain in the morning. I was making preparations for gardening and fishing. The bait skiffs returned with no bait and are gone to Friday’s Bay. I was at Pike’s after tea. Mail boat arrived at Fogo.
Wed. May 28—Wind SW fine breeze and rather cold. Bait very scarce. Ground a little too wet for gardening, though people are busy planning potatoes. First salmon caught yesterday.
Thurs. May 29—Wind northerly, rather cold. Some fish caught by those who had bait. Bait skiffs away still. Received some papers for the SUF. Bait skiffs returned in the evening and had a little bait. I was at Henry Porter’s after tea. Mail boated paped (passed) down on her way south.
Frid. May 30—Fine day, wind SW. Some schooners passing along for Labrador. Mr. Saunders arrived today from England where he has spent the winter; he came out in the schooner Constance.
Sat. May 31—Wind variable with showers of rain. I soled a pair of shoes for Mr. Winsor and went to Main Tickle after a punt to go fishing in. Torraville’s people are not returned from Exploits. I am poorly with pain in the stomach. Mr. Winsor came down in the evening. Bait skiff got down with some bait.
Sun. June 1—Fine pleasant day. Services conducted by Mr. Winsor—he went home in the evening. The Wesleyan Parson here from Herring Neck.
Mon June2—Whitmonday. Wind easterly all day, cold and unpleasant. Morning prayer at church. I was fishing and caught a qtl. of fish. Hacket here from Leading Tickle; came yesterday. Bait very scarce.
Tues June 3—Finer day today but not over warm as the winds are still easterly. I had a ¼ of a qtl of fish in the morning. Morning prayers at church. Some bait the latter part of the day. I had a few more fish in the evening.
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