One hundred Coaster columns
I’ve received emails from Coaster readers calling me anti-Conservative, so I’d like to clarify my position.
First, I want to thank all those who email me – it makes me a better writer when you do. It helps me to understand how my writing is received. Because I really don’t know how my reader is responding unless they tell me.
Heck, I don’t even know where my reader is, given I’ve gotten messages from Calgary, Iqaluit, Japan… showing me how far-reaching The Coaster can be. Nor do I really know who is reading my writing. It’s only over time (100 columns) that I’ve come to realize my reader is more varied than I originally believed - everybody from Hermitage high school students to Fort McMurray roughnecks. Even the CBC wrote me recently, seeking further comment about something I’d put in the paper. Yes indeed, many are more concerned with what’s going on along Newfoundland’s south-west coast than I’d initially anticipated. And I think that such a diverse readership is really cool – it opens my mind to have to consider the wants and needs of such a broad audience.
I think it would even be better if readers sent their comments and questions directly to the newspaper, so everyone could share in the discussion. But I am grateful for the messages in my mailbox.
Yet, not everyone who writes me is happy with my work - something that I think comes with the territory, even when I’m on the receiving end of some intentionally hurtful remarks. Although, I must say, the day an angry anonymous mainlander called me a “bloodsucking Newfoundland leech”, I took that comment as a compliment.
I’ve been wrong and right so many times in my life that I no longer care which I am anymore. But I do want to find new ways of thinking. So I’m thankful to every reader who spends energy helping me see this world differently than I normally do - that’s the greatest gift to me.
In summary, thanks to all who have read my work, over what has turned out to be two years - this gig is fun, enlightening, and educational for me. It’s made me feel like a bigger part of the Coast of Bays and beyond. And it has pleased me to interact with my readers - online, on the road, or elsewhere.
But in an effort to be clear: I am anti-Conservative, but it’s not that simple – I’m actually anti-institution. Meaning, I dislike all political parties and almost all the people who lead them. Liberal, NDP, Conservative… I think we need a ballot on Election Day that allows voters to say, “None of the above.” While such an option might be costly in the short term, I believe it would eventually lead to significant change on the part of politicians and their parties.
And I don’t like the leadership currently running our health care, education, police, fisheries, big business, banks… because I believe the majority of individuals who lead these institutions don’t hold themselves to the same standard of expectations that they insist the rest of us be held to. I think that leadership of these organizations cut themselves slack in ways they never would do for those they are responsible for - they don’t hold themselves to the same set of rules that they do you and me. And that makes them mean.
McCallum’s feller-from-away, David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org