The Times They are a Changin?


    Who has been watching the Democratic and Republican debates in the United States?  Has the level of wealth ( the one percent of the one percent)  and social and financial inequity become so great in the US that Americans will grasp at any straw and in this case Donald Trump?  It would seem in the USA “times are a changin”.

    What about Saint John? take a look at the stats, we have both the poorest and richest people in Canada. We have a major corporation looking for mult-imillion dollar tax breaks  while at the same time we have retired folk lined up at food banks and cutting their pills in half to make their medication last.  I would say that we don’t have much to brag about.

    A lot of folks believe Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’ captured the spirit of social and political upheaval that characterized the 1960s. Do any baby boomers remember the lyrics to this famous song? Here’s a verse to remind you:

    Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call Don’t stand in the doorway Don’t block up the hall For he that gets hurt Will be he who has stalled There’s a battle outside And it is ragin’. It’ll soon shake your windows And rattle your walls.For the times they are a-changin’.

    It’s a sad commentary, but 50 years later our belief in all politicians has been seriously eroded. Voter turnout has dropped to less than 40 per cent for many elections and the percentages drop even lower for municipalities election. Public polls typically put  politicians pretty close to the bottom of the least-trusted list of occupations  just above used car salesmen, why? Lack of government transparency, cover- ups, attempts to cover-up, corruption and suspicion of politicians lining their own pockets or making decisions based on self-interest or self-interest groups have only added to growing public mistrust, skepticism and apathy. Does that mean there are no good or well meaning politicians? The answer is no, perhaps some of those we have elected lack the courage, experience and resolve to deliver on the promises?

    Quite frankly, I’m sympathetic toward elected Councillors who have made the decision to “get involved.” As Warren Buffet once said to a former CEO, “You’ve inherited a war that you didn’t start.” Perhaps Councilors in Saint John have inherited a mess they didn’t create, however it’s now their war.

    Read a comment from a Vancouver blog taken from a few years ago:

    Our schools are in a state of disrepair. Our recreation facilities are in a state of disrepair. Why are we as a society so gullible as to accept this as fact without pursuing the reasons? Our elected officials have allowed our municipal assets to deteriorate. Why are these officials not held accountable? And why are many of these politicians continually re-elected? I encourage everybody, and that means you!! to pay attention to municipal politics.

    Do any of these comments apply to Saint John?

    Saint John has a municipal this coming May. I see Blake Armstrong already has signs out for Ward 1, will the early bird get the worm? Soon candidates are going to be coming  out of the woodwork with promises on how they will change the City for the better. They will be popping up all over the place  like spring crocuses. The road to hell is paved with promises and good intentions, we will need candidates that become Councilors  who have the courage to stand up to decades of municipal “status quo” that have left Saint a faint shadow of it’s former self.

    To the people of Saint John the question is :  “Are the times a changin for Saint John”? or will it be more of the same?