“Great leaders are rare, so I am following myself.”
The truth of that bumper sticker struck a chord in me so I adopted it as my own. But since Alberta Election 2008, I have been wondering why great leaders are so rare. I find myself feeling contempt more than respect for our elected leaders.
I can’t respect a man who would, in these times of evolving consciousness, direct billions towards greater military equipment to do harm to the people of nations whose customs and beliefs differ from ours, as to their homes and villages, yet lament that the Order of Canada would have been better awarded to someone who unified rather than divided Canada. Since when does war unify anyone other than the survivors into factions for and against?
I can’t respect a man who would spend millions of dollars to travel around promoting falsehoods about something that would do great harm to our environment, or telling (as Linda Goyette titled her column in the March issue of Alberta Views), The Big Whopper – Do you want lies with that? That, on top of giving himself and colleagues an obscene raise and then hiring extra security to protect themselves from the wrath of the public who elected them.
I can’t respect men who would corrupt local politics in order to appease one out-dated western tradition, and on the other hand, set the cost of a library card at a higher price than elsewhere. Does that not make the statement that cultivating one’s mind is valued less than promoting horse-and-cattle-crapping?
So, that got me wondering: What is respect anyways? Basically, the word means worthy of looking at again. I would look again and again at anyone creative enough to diverge from the same old ways things have always been done, old ways like ignoring the wisdom of half the population.
Maybe The Family Virtues Project,” best explains it: “Respect is an attitude of honouring people and caring about their rights. It is reflected in the courtesy with which we treat each other and their belongings, in the way we speak and act. We give people the dignity they deserve. Being respectful makes people feel valued.”
There’s the problem – today’s elected leaders show no respect for the people or their property, or Mother Nature. Instead these Conservatives (all of them), sneak around behind closed doors making deals in secret to further their private agendas and profit themselves and their cronies, regardless of the rights and needs of the citizens of their jurisdictions. It is also hard to find reason to respect anyone who votes blind, deaf, and dumb to this gradual erosion of democracy.
However, I respect anyone with the courage to stand up for democracy. My respect would not be misplaced for anyone who would persist in the attempt to protect the democratic rights and responsibilities of all citizens, even when its risky to oppose Conservative governments and their big-profit corporations accustomed to doing anything they want. Such a person actually lives in the Lacombe-Ponoka constituency. Which is why, Vue, (a weekly Edmonton arts and entertainment newspaper) recently said this:
“Best Politician who isn’t sitting in the legislature. Hands down, Green candidate for Lacombe-Ponoka Joe Anglin. He’s only been an Albertan for four years, but he’s already become a civic leader, spearheading the fight against Bill 46. A populist in the best sense of the word, he’s got the sense to be progressive and the ability to explain things to people in terms they understand and can relate to. Pay attention, urban, college-educated progressives: this is the type of person you need to win in Alberta.“