Yankee Homecoming this year will feature a ‘Town Crier’. As he goes about announcing the festival and leading the parade, people may forget that the Town Crier served an official role as the Emergency Management Office of the 18th century.
It was he that ran about the City when a fire occurred alerting the citizens to come out and douse the flames. If eminent danger came, it was his job to notify everyone. There were no e-mails, faxes or telephones – just one man and any assistants running from house to house, street to street alerting as many as they could reach.
It was the Town Crier who, receiving word from messengers relayed from Concord and Lexington who rapidly alerted the entire town of Newbury-port. A large contingency of armed citizen soldiers ran down to Lexington and Concord to join the militia. Yes, ‘Porters were represented in that key conflict that started the American Revolution!
His job was deadly serious.
We need a Town Crier now. We have demagogues and cunning operatives who want to trash our historic city. Using phony arguments over ‘property rights’ and ‘free speech’, they want to roll back all the accomplishments that have allowed our city to prosper. They stand up rallying in the most obnoxious manner hoping that intimidation as a force unto itself will win their cause.
Normally, it works especially when timid souls cringe and cry, "Can’t we just get along?" These statements only embolden the intimidators as signs of weakness.
It was our perceived weakness that gave us the Landfill mess. Let us not cower over the intimidation on the ‘Signs’ issue or on the Local Historic District or on the Waterfront or other important challenges that face us.
The Town Crier is shouting and banging on your door. It’s time to take up arms and stand up for quality of life and preservation of our community*.
* That means take action. Write letters to your ward councilor, councilors-at-large, Mayor and show up before the City Council meeting Monday and be heard.