Oh, the Struggles Ahead

Sometimes we can almost believe that the wheel of historical necessity within the invisible logic of events is turning, and turning the right way.

By Jeff Mahoney
Published December 14, 2005

Raise the Hammer has raised the issues, and raised the bar for journalistic commentary and inquiry in this our city of the 11th hour.

So I raise a glass to Raise the Hammer, on its first anniversary. It has become a repair shop for our broken dreams. And a mint for some fresh new ones.

Over the last 12 months, I have read the insights and proddings, the reflections and research, the cogitations and pleadings of Raise the Hammer's editor - Ryan McGreal - and regular contributors - Trevor Shaw, Jason Leach, Ben Bull.

And I have learned. I know things about this city that I didn't before. And I hope things for this city that I didn't dare hope before.

It has been an invaluable source of information and ideas and a much-needed forum for the kinds of opinion and alternative thinking that too often get shouted down elsewhere in the city.

I know that this city looks forward to another year of fine analysis, critique and writing from Raise the Hammer.

It has become an antidote to much of the cant and cynicism (at different points along the political spectrum) that so often vex this city is it gropes toward its own destiny.

When I last wrote for Raise the Hammer in its inaugural issue (hey, Ryan, I still haven't been paid yet), we were just coming off the shock of Bush's re-election to the White House.

Hardly a local issue, but I don't know anyone anywhere who didn't take that pretty personally, and pretty hard if they were anti-Bush.

And here specifically in Hamilton we had just absorbed the first year of the new Di Ianni regmime at city hall. So if I sounded just a tad baleful and pessimistic, I will beg your retro-active pardon.

I'm okay now, thank you. I think. In better spirits.

Maybe. A bit.

Oh, the struggles ahead. You know them, if you have been a true and faithful reader of Raise the Hammer.

Many pockets of enlightenment are sprouting up around Hamilton. We now have a Downtown Cultural Centre. We have an art resurgence on James Street North.

Joanna Chapman's crusade for more accountability in City Hall financing has met with some impressive successes.

These things are perhaps not our portioni to know, as they used to say in the Bible, but sometimes we can almost believe that the wheel of historical necessity within the invisible logic of events is turning, and turning the right way.

Whether it has enough momentum to roll over and scatter the forces of backwardness and greed, or whether it will be turned back by those forces, just before it crests, only time and the hearts of those who believe in a progressive future for Hamilton will tell.

If the balance tips our way, Raise the Hammer will have played no small part in making it happen. (Oh, all right, Ryan, you can have this as a freebie. And the last one too.)

To RTH. To another great year.

Jeff Mahoney is a columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and an all-around great guy. We paid him a lot of money to write nice things about us.


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