Publishing a local newspaper has its ups and downs. On the up side, you get to meet some great people, people who make this community a better place every day. They usually work quietly, behind the scenes, and they don’t like getting their names in the NG Times because they are modest and like to keep a low profile. You also get to hear some great stories about what’s happening around the place: but, again, you can’t always write about them because, in some cases, no publicity is good publicity. It’s a shame, because there are some wonderfully positive and encouraging things going on all the time.
Then there are the downs of the job. Again, there are stories and things happening that we can’t write about, because we don’t have that final footnote, that last piece of evidence and proof that would allow us to tell a story without being sued! The bullying of seniors, the turf wars that retard the growth of business and community, and so many quiet deals behind the scenes that stink of cronyism. But, of all the aspects that most get me down, it is the hypocrisy that really gets to me sometimes.
People who get their names and pictures in the paper (other papers) for “supporting their community” and helping the less fortunate among us, who, in other venues, state quite firmly that they would abolish all welfare and EI programs if they had the chance. People who get involved in groups to make the community stronger, but really do it “to make money”and promote their own business. Yes, you can do both: but those who put the community aspect first are the ones I respect and admire. They are, ultimately, the ones who achieve something worthy and honourable.
We in Canada can get very smug about our neighbours to the south; especially in this astonishing election cycle they are enduring. It is hard to understand sometimes why Donald Trump exists in politics, or why some media person doesn’t just say publicly: “The man is an idiot”. (On a side issue: people compare Trump to Hitler, but I think they’re wrong. They have the wrong Fascist Dictator. Donald Trump is not Hitler, he’s Mussolini; an arrogant bully, strutting around the public stage delighting his followers by his “honesty”, and “telling it like it is”. Like Mussolini, Trump lies with shame, throws unsupported allegations around like confetti, depends on fear and greed to inspire his followers, and is a general danger to civilised discourse).
Yet, I am quite sure that we have people in North Grenville who admire the man and wish we had someone like him here, instead of a young pup who dares talk about human rights, inclusion and community! There is a lot of lip service to those things here among some people, but it is accompanied by spite, character assassination and deceit. Being involved with this newspaper, I have come across too much of that. There are so many smiles to your face and knives in your back. Too much cynicism, believing that everyone has their own hidden agenda, that no-one is really out for the good of the community, just for their own personal or business interests.
People have always used their position to best advantage, and the more unscrupulous get away with a great deal by depending on the good behaviour and good manners of others. It is considered bad manners to question people in leadership, that it lacks respect for the office or the person. But too many are very good at doing a Donald Trump: lying shamelessly and almost daring people to contradict them or confront the lies.
In the past generation we have seen the growing acceptance, even approval, of greed and ambition in business and politics. It has been a slow slide downhill, and perhaps it is only the staggering popularity of Trump that has opened our eyes to where the slide is heading. North Grenville is still a healthy and positive place in that regard. We have some responsible and concerned builders and developers; we have some politicians with integrity and respect for the taxpayers they serve; we have some local businesses who give and give to North Grenville and without whom it would not be the place it is. We have service clubs and churches and other voluntary groups reflecting the generosity and humanity of our people.
But those who are using their position for solely personal gain and advancement, who are in danger of undermining public confidence and faith in our community, should be aware that it is not just a duty to shine a light on their activities, sometimes it is essential to show that, as Shakespeare put it so well: “Meet it is I set it down, that one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”