Hank Ketchum’s thought may be useful during this election campaign. “Flattery is like chewing gum. Enjoy it, but don’t swallow it.

Hank Ketchum’s thought may be useful during this election campaign. “Flattery is like chewing gum. Enjoy it, but don’t swallow it.”

The Fourth Estate

It’s probably been lost in the current echo of 1929, and the rush of power seekers roaming the land, but National Newspaper Week runs from the second to the eighth of October.

Well, it was last year in the States anyway, and since almost everyone has a week I guess we should have one too.

Newspapers are, among other things, a paradox, especially for politicians since they’re both essential to each other, being friend and foe together, or as Fotheringham called it, Birds of a Feather.

Former owner of the News, Dave Robertson, described a newspaper well, suggesting it was the bulletin board of the community.

Someone else described it as the first rough draft of history. Groucho Marx, in his inimitable way, predicted in the 1950s that television would never replace the newspaper because you couldn’t put a TV set in the bottom of a bird cage!

To his humorous approach may we add that something else is wrapped in it besides fish, as another use suggested.

It’s something intangible, something precious, something men, women and children have died for over the centuries — freedom!

What you hold in your hands as well, is your ability to disagree, publicly, in your own words. In the letters-to-the-editor column, plus as Dave suggested you can find out what’s happening, where, when and why it’s happening, who’s coming, going … your community bulletin board at work, and it’s not the most expensive reading material by a long shot.

Actually when reading a newspaper you’re holding freedom in your hands. So, happy newspaper week to everyone and a special tip of the hat to yesterday’s veterans and today’s warriors keeping that freedom and the others, safe for us.

It is a simple task to carve words in concrete, as are the words Peace, Order and Good Government, carved above a door in our Parliament buildings. Achieving them requires gigantic effort, and sacrifices are always part of that effort.

To achieve peace, we sacrifice, as too many have done; maintaining order is also difficult, as others have, and are doing, and good government, well, that’s up to the rest of us, and those we give the privilege of handling the power, saying, by the simple marking of an X, you do it, work for us!

And the kicker being, if not, we’ll throw you out; we’ll tell the world about it, loudly and clearly, and we’ll choose someone else. Now that’s true freedom.

Out of this planet’s 6,698,097,489 people on last Monday morning, we are a minority who enjoy such real freedom. We being our neighbours, and allies, and it’s taken a few hundred years to get here. According to some, we still have a way to go, but that’s open for another of democracy’s freedoms, free and open debate. Which is another good point about democracy — we each watch, enjoy the others’ political dances, but we still do it our way,

Anyway any election is a vital part of that freedom, but don’t tell me Canadian elections are boring. They’re not as jazzed up as our neighbour’s, that’s certain, but they sure aren’t as complex, as convoluted, and, thanks be to heaven, nor as long. Oh, and frankly, I don’t want our politicians to become celebrities, I want them to keep their nose to the grindstone, not centre stage gripping and grinning, don’t you?

Yes sir, laid back and short has a lot going for it when it comes to listening to political promises. Besides, I’ve got things to do, places to go, and some entrepreneuring to do.

A tip of the hat to the only true entrepreneurs left in Canada — a true entrepreneur in this context meaning one of those rare, very rare birds, who does not seek, nor receive financial help from government. They’re the boys and girls who, like the mailmen and mailwomen, deliver your paper to your door, through rain and sleet and snow and all that other stuff.

(Oh, by the way, on Tuesday morning the world clock reported the world population as 6,701,602,759. I wonder why this skyrocketing number isn’t included in all the Global Warming hype? It’s definitely a major factor, isn’t it?)