05 December 2010

The end of history

From the Telegram’s Saturday edition, comes a provocative idea from another opinion piece:

If Churchill Falls is the alpha and omega of provincial politics, what happens now?

How does a political culture evolve once it has reached the promised land, where have-not is no more?

Mr. Williams did not change the province’s political culture so much as he embodied it. And for the past forty years, that culture has been predicated on the politics of anticipation.

For two generations, Newfoundlanders have waited for political deliverance from the injustices of the past.

This anticipation created a political teleology so deeply ingrained that it’s hardly recognized, let alone questioned. The unspoken assumption has always been that Newfoundland and Labrador is not just a place but a time: it’s always on the cusp of going somewhere, becoming something, fighting someone.

To be a Newfoundlander is to know in your bones that the next big announcement is just around the corner, because one day the sun will surely shine.

Being Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador has meant never having to say you’re sorry, because suffering have-not status and Ottawa’s perfidy justifies doing whatever is necessary, from hauling down a national flag to slandering opponents as traitors and betrayers.

Yet if politics has meant struggle, what happens when the struggle is won?

Historian Jerry Bannister comes up with a poser.

After all, Labrador hydro-electric power is the political equivalent of paradise on Earth in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

It’s something that is always just around the next bend.

It’s the better tomorrow we have to be ready for.

So what happens now that we are supposedly at that point in history?

What’s next?

- srbp -