It was no small battle of the sexes at the Leamington Town Council the other day. The women lost. Deputy mayor Hilda MacDonald was unable to muster enough support from her all male colleagues to change free on-street parking in the town’s downtown from two to three hours. This would be to the benefit of women everywhere, or at least locally.
MacDonald, in her polite arguing, talked of the complexion and complexity of the core having changed. Retailers had pulled out and left behind largely a service industry of hair curlers and nail polishers. She reasoned getting just the right do can take longer than 120 minutes.
Surprisingly, affable mayor John Paterson agreed, self-admitting he pays the price when his better half spends too long in the parlour. Along with his mayoral duties he is also in charge of settling her parking tickets.
While this could seem little more than a tempest in a Leamington tomato pail, it was quite instructive.
It turns out there is an abundance of free downtown parking including a parking field close at hand. Most of the councillors, aside from MacDonald, seem to think ladies needing coiffure help could simply park in the lot and walk a short distance.
These councillors were resolute in believing the town’s distaff side had options other than the time limited space in front of their beauticians. They could park as long as they wanted in the lot.
Called on to break a tie, and going against his wife’s probable predilection, Paterson reminded his elected counterparts the decision made that night could always be changed, possibly after he eats some humble pie at home.
Unfortunately, MacDonald exposed herself to being no Alexander Hamilton. There is the lesson for all politicians.
Battles, like this one in the quiet tomato capital, occur often in the region’s towns and cities. Most likely because the people’s representatives probably know little about Hamilton and what he did, almost single-handedly, to bring America its Constitution.
It is even more doubtful any of them have pursued a pilgrimage to Hamilton’s once country spread which, for decades, sat with Harlem, NY, growing up around it. It has since been relocated to St Nicholas Park.
At least now they can probably expense a trip to the Big Apple to see its most popular Broadway play, simply entitled Hamilton.
Wise beyond his years, Hamilton accomplished more than most American politicians in a condensed period, before being mortally wounded in a duel. But what he did to persuade disparate states to approve a new Constitution is what all politicians should do without reservation.
In short, he simply kept talking until enough agreed with him. At least that is the way it looked, but much more was going on.
His effort was unprecedented. He knew his opponents’ weaknesses and the psychology to win them over. He also wrote many of the so-called Federalist Papers which the media published and which built support among the fledgling country’s literate.
The local region needs more Hamiltonians, capable councillors who do their homework and know how to convince their seatmates to do something. If it is good, taxpayers will win. But, too often, the councillors seem to operate on a laisez-faire basis, abdicating the hard work needed to win enough votes.
This seems to be the situation with MacDonald. She needed one vote; something she should have organized prior to the meeting. It should not have been too difficult given Paterson was somewhat sympathetic.