No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. John Donne Meditation XVII
That famous quote was the inspiration for For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway. It poses two truths: 1) that we are all connected together on this planet and 2) mortality faces us all.
Rotary District Governor-Elect Bette Douglas in her speech to the Charlottetown Club this week used the theme Think Global – Act Local to drive home the need to do good works at home while keeping our finger on the pulse of good works around the world.
When I look at the visitor statistics for this website, those two messages are with me. About 50% of the visitors to the site are from PEI. Mitch Murphy is one of them: he told me yesterday. That’s logical because we write mainly about the cause of Islanders with disabilities.
Quite amazing is the other 50% who are from all over the world. Of course we have regular readers readers from the Atlantic provinces, quite a few from Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC.
Americans from Maine to Clearwater Florida, from New York, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, Austin, Asheville, NC and all places in between are regular readers.
There are regular readers from Argentina, Venezuela, Great Britain, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Israel, India, Australia and New Zealand.
There is a strong contingent or readers from mainland China and they have been watching from the start. We have readers from Japan.
In the interview last week, Erin Moore of the CBC asked why it mattered that people ‘from away’ read the blog. The quote from John Donne came to mind – ‘for no man is an island’, nor is an Island an island. PEI counts on its world reputation which is tarnished by the unwillingness of the government to treat Islanders with disabilities fairly. The Province could help those who need help. Are they chosing to turn a deaf ear, a blind eye?
One of the benefits of social media networking is that local issues can be discussed on a regional or world stage. If the PEI government is abusing Islanders with disabilities, the news can be published around the world. Democracy and its rise in power and stability is always tied to the 4th Estate or press. The press publicize abuses of power and put power into the hand of the voter.
Is the social media network part of the 4th Estate or does it constitute the 5th Estate, a new form of communication that keeps the powerful from abusing the weak?