Titanic as a political weapon: A history of analogies

Titanic as a political weapon: A history of analogies Last month marked the 99th year since the Titanic sank. As much as we would like to leave history to the historians Ð well, if only we could. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May won a historic victory be

Last month marked the 99th year since the Titanic sank. As much as we would like to leave history to the historians - well, if only we could.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May won a historic victory becoming the first member of the House of Commons for her party.

When acknowledging her party’s lack of professional polish, May made the comment: “More than once, it’s occurred to me one of my favourite phrases, which is, of course: Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic.”

Although received with laughs on election night, I found the statement frustrating.

I am from Northern Ireland (living there half the year annually) and not only had relatives work to build the Titanic, but had two relations on the vessel when it went down.

In a nutshell: when Titanic sank in 1912, 1,339 men and 114 women perished.

It has been 99 years since the iconic ocean liner sank, yet we are more fascinated than ever with the ship whose name is synonymous with disaster. It is well to remember Titanic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are its lessons that still resonate today.

Following the disaster, Clark McAdams, columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, contrasted women’s desire for the vote with what occurred on Titanic.

In significant respects, the poem’s words still speak to us. “Votes for women!” and most recently, votes for one Saanich-Gulf Island woman.

As much as we would like to leave history to the historians - well, if only we could.

William Perry

Victoria