"Cinderella of Empire"
The history of this island is an unbroken history of struggle.
The war has widened our horizons and deepened our knowledge of the great gulf which separates what we have and what we are, from what we feel we should have and should be. We have become uncomfortably aware of the low standards of our country, and we are driven irresistibly to wonder whether our attempt to persist in isolation is the root cause of our condition. Our very manhood, our very creation by God, entitles us to standards of life no lower than our brothers on the mainland. We are fifty, in some things one hundred, years behind the times. We live more poorly, more shabbily, more meanly. Our life is more a struggle. Our struggle is tougher, more naked, more hopeless.
We all love this land. It has a charm, it warms our hearts, go where we will,a charm, a magic, a mystical tug on our emotions that never dies. With all her faults we love her. But a metamorphosis steals over us the moment we cross the border which separates us from other lands. We are so used to our ways that we do not even see their inadequacy, their backwardness,their seaminess. We take for granted our lower standards, our poverty. We are not indignant about them, we save our indignation for those who publish such facts. Except for a few years of this war and a few of the last, our people’s earnings never supported them on a scale comparable with North American standards, and never maintained a government on even the prewar scale of service. We might manage, precariously, to maintain independent national status. We can resolutely decide to be poor but proud. But if such a decision is made it must be made by the sixty thousand poor families, and not by the five thousand families who are confident of getting along pretty well in any case. Our danger, so it seems to me, is that of nursing delusions of grandeur. We are not a nation. We are a medium-sized municipality. There was a time indeed when tiny states lived gloriously. That time is now ancient European history. We are trying to live in the mid-twentieth century, post-Hitler New World. We can, of course, persist in isolation, a dot on the shore of North America. Reminded continually by radio, visitors, and movies of the incredibly higher standards of living across the Gulf, we can shrug incredulously or dope ourselves into the hopeless belief that such things are not for us. By our isolation from the throbbing vitality and expansion of the continent, we have been left far behind in the march of time, “the sport of historic misfortune,” “the Cinderella of Empire.”
-excerpt from Richard Gywn's "The Unlikely revolutionary"