For the briefest of moments last week, I thought I was finally having one of those much-touted, eagerly anticipated acid flashbacks da man always warned us kids about. It was a purple haze, magic carpet ride back to the '60s - though not the best part of them - when Councillor Forsyth, channeling his inner Dick Nixon, breathed life into the long-forgotten, always disputed Silent Majority.
The Silent Majority?
No, seriously, folks. There is apparently a silent majority of Whistleratics. Hard to imagine in a town of such passionate, outspoken people, isn't it? Setting aside for the moment reality - which is to say whether they are, in fact, silent and a majority - this newly discovered S&M crowd whole-heartedly supports the upcoming, oft-derided Town Party. At least in Councillor Forsyth's imagination, er, view.
"I think the silent majority is going to show up for Canada Day...." he says, implying there is a large, quiet groundswell of support for the event. "The naysayers are not going to win." I can't believe anyone would resurrect the Silent Majority and fail to invoke the "nattering nabobs of negativity." C'mon, Ralph, what's Tricky Dick without Spiro by his side?
Perhaps it was the spectre of this chimera that led Councillor Zeidler to abandon his own support for the shindig. Or perhaps it was the not-so-silent numbers of townsfolk - clearly not a majority, since there can only be one majority - who led him to say, "I have seen and heard violent opposition to this thing, and it has been ongoing and relentless." Which is pretty much what everyone else has witnessed outside of Ralphland.
Well, we seem to be mired in two solitudes here. How very Canadian.
Ralph wants opinion leaders to step forward and support the party. Loathe as I am to claim the title, here goes: I support the Canada Day festivities... with the following caveats.
Before you start wondering whether I drank the Kool-Aid or accusing me of flip-floppery - which is such a cool word I wouldn't mind at all - bear me out.
What we actually have here is one of those classic, Whistlercentric failures of communication and planning. I'm never certain whether these debacles arise from fear or incompetence but it doesn't really matter which. When the "town party" was announced a month ago, there were three reasons for having one: reignite our Olympic spirit, congratulate ourselves for a job well done and spark some summer tourist business.
Regarding those first two reasons, former U.S. president Lyndon Johnson, himself a '60s flashback and a good ol' southern boy, was fond of saying, when somebody was trying to obfuscate the truth by hanging a lot of distracting tinsel on it, "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's rainin'."