"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday 16 July 2020


There's a little contretemps going on with the current Mayor of our town that reminds me of a story about the immediately previous Mayor. 

The town had a night for presenting awards for excellence in variety of endeavours. Everyone and their favourite auntie was welcome to attend. Organizations, individuals, and kids' sports teams were the stars of the evening.

The Council Chamber was filled with happy faces of all ages, and kid's in their team jerseys and tousled hair. The medals and certificates were inexpensive affairs. They were presented by Councillors. The Grande Finale was naming the Citizen of the Year and was presented by the Mayor. 

Afterwards, everyone trooped upstairs to the second floor where a bar was created and here and there tall round tables with stools dotted the space. Wine was served to adults and suitable drinks for the young ones. There were snacks. It was a bright and cheerful evening. Maybe the closest we ever came to using the Council Chamber and reception areas for the dual purpose intended. 

The only other occasion that ever came close was a jazz concert held in the Council Chamber on a Sunday night soon after the Town Hall opened. It was very nice...and never repeated. 

John West was Mayor then. So...we move forward to Mayor Dawe's first year in office. 

The date came up for awards night. We received notice, but not of the awards we would be presenting. Thought nothing of it. I arrived at the Town Hall expecting to be directed by staff. No such thing. Noticed Councillor Humfreys at the door of the Council Chamber in formal attire, obviously greeting guests. I joined a group of Councillors and asked what the procedure was going to be. They didn't know either. 

I went behind the Chamber to try to discover. Found a staff member busy with chairs and stuff. He went off and made an inquiry. He came back with the direction for me to find a seat in the audience. So I did that. The program had changed significantly. 

The audience was sparse and already seated. Award recipients were seated on the floor of the chamber. Nominators were at hand in the centre of the floor and a video screen was prepared to display the excellence of the candidates. 

At a precise moment, the Mayor came tripping down the stairs wearing a long tailed tuxedo in dove grey. He went to the front, cards in hand, and the ceremony began. I stayed for the nominations, the videos and presentation of the awards. My presence otherwise would neither have been noticed or missed. I took some satisfaction in the discomfort of the Mayor and Councillor Humfreys standing with their heads tilted back to watch the videos ensuring suitable expressions of awe throughout. They had not been provided with chairs.

I did not join the social that followed. A welcome was not evident. I could not be sure I would be civil either. He was the Mayor for one reason, to be certain the previous Mayor would not occupy the chair a second time. On that occasion, I might have found it necessary to remind him of the fact. It would not have been appropriate.

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