Show us the bandwagon and we’ll jump on it

The Telegram
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Brian Jones (The Telegram, April 11) writes “Newfoundlanders, far from being the robust political animals of myth and legend, are actually like docile wimps who prefer being bullied.”  
I believe that closer to the truth is that we prefer to be lead and are easily swayed by the next crusader whom we consider better than us.

Always willing to bow to the almighty, was there ever a bandwagon that we didn’t clamour to climb aboard? Yes, it’s hard to admit that we are followers. Sheep.

From the fishing admirals to Dannydom, we know our place. Always looking for someone to deify, a power that we might surrender to, a Moses to lead us not to our promised land but to their promised land.  

Kowtowing in near blind obedience is more our provincial character. Obsequious by nature. Beaten down by colonial masters, local merchants aligned with politicos and then the Canadian experience where we were made to feel inferior for half a century.

Described by E.J. Pratt  as “the shabby ones of the Earth’s respite/the victims of her rude neglect” is it any wonder that we ended up this way? Only our individual, if not collective, cynicism coupled with an acclaimed sense of humour has kept many of us from self destruction.

Give us enough crumbs from the masters table and sufficient blarney to wash it down and we remain quite pliable. No Declaration of Independence or Boston Tea Party here. Our tea party is held by invitation only on the Lieutenant Governor’s lawn. No real dissention other than that momentary flicker of backbone when a mob rightfully tried to hang Sir Richard Squires.

Hardly a murmur over the unanimous vote to give up Responsible Government in 1934. Fifteen subsequent years of Commission of Government seemed perfectly okay. In Smallwood versus the Water Street merchants we bought into the Canadian dream.

Arguably, we never had a dream of our own. Wanting to be like Danny is likely as close as we have ever come. We even gave him credit for instilling in us a new sense of pride which carries the admittedly shameful admission that we didn’t have any in the first place.  

When we finally got our hands on some real money due not so much to good governance as to the rising cost of a barrel of oil we allowed it to be  spent like drunken sailors until the overlords imposed on us their version of “Sunday morning coming down.” The coffers were empty but a year later — and coincidentally a year from the next election — the crumbs are being doled out once again and our future has never been brighter.

The new spending is not an effort to buy us off suggests the recycled rheoteric but is “an investment” in our future. Joy throughout the land.  

Didn’t near 80 per cent of us decry any real knowledge of Muskrat Falls but in some government poll nearly the same percentage voted for it anyway? Hardly an indication of discernment or foresight.

Jones says that Newfoundlanders being “robust political animals” is a myth. Again I don’t believe this to be quite correct even though I understand his frustration and admire his courage for saying it. It is not that we have been historically disengaged but more that we like beating the drum on the sidelines of someone else’s procession. We have never contemplated or agreed as a people what kind of parade we would like.

The periodic emergence of patriotic new political parties and T-shirt slogan anarchists, notwithstanding, we are far more susceptible to group think than independent reflection and action.

Perhaps it’s time to have a non-partisan discussion and to develop a long term, inclusive plan that exceeds the short five-year electoral mandate? Wouldn’t it be better to elect politicians based on their execution of the agreed upon plan than to be at the constant whim of their exalted self interest? Unworkable, naive you say?

More so than waiting for the next perfidious ringmaster?  

 

T. F. Hawco

St. John’s

Organizations: Boston Tea Party, Commission of Government

Geographic location: Smallwood, Water Street, Muskrat Falls

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  • NATION of Henholemouths
    April 21, 2014 - 08:03

    All the nationalistic bullshit, but lack of population to support it makes us weak and controllable. If Mark Critch motorboated Pam out of the Seal business, and called Bryan Adams a self-absorbed shit disturber, sure we could part his hair in the middle and put Dannie's glasses on him! The double bind of Confederation is something people must get past. No difference would it have made if we were Yanks, or Brits, or Russians - we would still be Someone's Crimea, you dig? Low population/large area/entrenched colonial attitudes. The attitudes that must change are those of the oppressed. The oppressors are doing just fine. Burn your free NFLD shirts and wake up to your non-novelity, Nuie is the 'real' Rock, 'real' Baymen are in Belize. So forth, and so on, until nationalism is put in its place, and we stop celebrating our ignorance with our perpetual henhole-shaped poor-mouths. No journalists want to write what the target audience will not read. Movies like Gasland, and Carbon Rush are needed. Stop trying to be saltwater Isrealites and see our place in the world!! Jealous white trash worrying about others getting a handup, or handout, whatever, is a prevalent theme that scapegoats the non-political, and absolves the populists. Clarence Cantwell, you are our only hope. at least he has worked in the oil&gas! Stop electing grocery baggers, drug dealers and cable guys, is a start. The Pc, and LibEral parties must be forced to define themselves.