First of all, the dark side are not townies. There are many townies that are fine upstanding citizens with a clear eye to Newburyport’s future. Townies by the way are not simply born in Newburyport but are part of a family that has been here for generations. And yes, there are, strangely enough, people, not born in Newburyport that have been converted to the dark sider’s cause. The dark side are not evil though of course some may do evil things.
The dark side believes that Newburyport’s future lies in industry and not in eco-tourism and heritage tourism. A dark sider reminisces of a community with busy factories providing steady though not perhaps wealthy income to the workers in town. They imagine that after a hard day at work, the family could stroll the streets and live in a safe community where everyone knows everyone else. There were few outsiders. Dark siders after all are about family and financial security. It may be observed that they tend to have the money-like the Great Depression generation, the harbinger of poverty is ever before them – their mantra is jobs and growth. To them, craftsmen and bankers and developers must be given an absolute free hand to do whatever possible to generate money.
The dark sider sees no value in aesthetics – a manicured lawn is no value to them – a job is everything and the appearance of your house means nothing. They do not understand equity and care nothing of raising property values – to them it’s only an excuse to raise taxes.
Bringing in buildings that do not fit Newburyport is okay with them – we must build, build, build. Open space is wasted space – we must build, build, build to raise more tax revenue. To them, the act of construction and industry is the ticket for the future of Newburyport as the dark sider is forever seeking what was lost in the mid-twentieth century: seeking the old Newburyport of the past filled with large factories. Yes, it was ugly and polluted and the waterfront was where construction debris was dumped but people had jobs and close families. Outsiders are not a source of revenue but a threat. A dark sider cares nothing about visitors and new arrivals, calling them all carpetbaggers.
They do not value the old buildings and would love to sweep them away for new – a dark sider feels a deep shame that was generated by years of having an inability to replace old houses with the latest “modern” building of the moment. To live in an old house means you are poor and socially inadequate. New means you can afford the best materials and the latest fashion. This explains why dark siders see no value in local historic districts or understand the value of preserving past architecture.
Revolutions have for years known that to be successful, they must never attack the livelihood of the people. The outrage will simply strike them down. Because dark siders feel their very livelihood is threatened by historic preservation and restrictive zoning; a small minority of them will stoop to the politics of destruction. If they can smear, destroy or make irrelevant an opponent – they’ll do it. Dark siders can be found picking through an opponent’s trash barrels looking for political dirt or in these days reading people’s e-mails. Often, anonymous phone calls with veiled threats are done and gainsaying, gossiping, boycotting and ostracizing are necessary tools. These dark siders hide their actions because of these methods and hate open government that involves the light of day preferring the backroom deal and well-crafted secret arrangements.
Regardless how you view them, it is my greatest hope in the very near future if not in the present that families huddled around the fireplace on a cold winter night will tell scary tales of the “Dark Side” and thoroughly scare themselves and their children. Sending out the warning that if they are careless and not diligent, these spectral terrors will return to make their lives and their city miserable.
Famous Fictional Dark Siders
Mr. Potter remakes Bedford Falls into a money-making machine with no care for quality of life issues.
Ebenezer Scrooge is so obsessed with money he makes everyone’s life miserable and in the end, finds himself miserable and poor of spirit.