I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen, han mathon ne chae a han noston ned ‘wilith.
For the four or five of you non-ubernerds we need to translate this for, above is the opening voiceover in Elvish (Sindiran) from the first Lord of the Rings film. It’s spoken by the Elvish Queen Galadriel, and it translates thusly:
“The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air.”
We feel ya, Lady of the Golden Wood. We’re all feeling it these days, since everything seems sort of…how to put it..out of control? Or, in Clamspeak, “Awash with flying shitmonkeys”? Responding to change is never easy. For instance we’re avoiding upgrading to the Google Pixel from our old Samsung because simply the addition of a new charger cable into the mix will cast our life and work into an abyss abject chaos. But beyond just evolving electronics, absolutely nothing seems recognizable right now, not our government, not our economy, not the ways we work, communicate, learn, treat the sick or care for the vulnerable. Every day feels like waking up in a freshly off-kilter world, with a new set of rules and potential outcomes.
But, friends, as uncomfortable as they are (and they really are), times of change are times of opportunity. Change is when you get to rewrite rules, take stands, redefine and reestablish. Think about all the instances you’ve ever moved, started a new relationship (or ended an old one), changed jobs or got a really awesome haircut. You’re like a new person. That’s where we are today in our world, in our country and, despite best efforts, Gloucester.
So now is the time to choose the Gloucester we want for the future. The City Council Vote for the Tuesday, November 7 election is the first official voice we’ve had since everything left the fucking rails last Fall. Let us begin here.
We at Clam Global headquarters, in our secret lair miles below the Earth’s surface, gathered in the candelabra-lit star chamber and decided the people we’re voting for are going to represent what we want to see for the future: Caring for Gloucester’s vulnerable, our kids and the environment. People with an actual sense of what a realistic future is, not just one that’s expensive homes and service jobs, but a real mixed economy that is neither a fantasy of the past nor a bunch of empty platitudes about “innovation” or “the arts.” We’re demanding a sensible and thoughtful analysis of what we can and want to be, with the understanding it’s not going to be easy. Also we’re taking a hard line against against those who’ve linked themselves and our city to the ugliest forces of our national politics. We used to have the luxury to say, “I separate national politics from local” but choices were made, which we’ve outlined previously, making that stance impossible now.
This city is unique, it possesses something almost unheard of in the 21st century, a definite character, a sense of self. The truth is, this is why folks from the outside are eager to attack us, why they’re so eager to come up here with their TV trucks and do a “Isn’t Gloucester Wacky!” story for the nightly news at any whiff of something that, had it occurred in Fitchburg or Dunwich [note: check if actual town] wouldn’t rate a line in the “regional notes” section. It’s because those assholes live in somewhere like Acton or Bridgewater or Belmont, somewhere bland. Our very own teenage daughter at a track meet was confronted by another team’s derisive chants of, “Stinky Gloucester fishtown!” to which she replied, index finger outstretched as if she were uttering an ancient curse, “YOU’LL ALWAYS BE FROM DANVERS!“
Being more than not-Danvers, but the Gloucester of the 21st century is going to take work, some pain and juggling a lot of different needs and outlooks. The people you choose to steer that course, their motivations and skillsets, are incredibly important. Make your tough choices, set us on the path. If there aren’t sufficient choices in the roles you want to see, then write someone in. Send a message.
There is another Elvish line from the film, which I’m sure I don’t have to translate but I will again for the couple of you readers unfamiliar with the fair tonge. After being stabbed with the Morgol blade, Frodo is passing into the shadows to be among the soulless servants of the Dark Lord. Arwen, the Elvish princess, cries to him:
Lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad
It’s what I chant every morning now when I pick up my phone to check the news:
“Hear my voice, come back to the light”