This election has revealed hostilities among Canadian citizens more unpleasant than I have ever witnessed in all my voting life. The Free Trade Treaty election of 1988 was nearly as heated, but then there was a single issue, and this time it is not issues that divide us, it is the persons of the parties’ leadership.
Of course, in 1988 there was no Internet and no social media to bring me evidence such as I see now demonstrating rage against party leaders, and extreme dislike between different points of view in politics.
Politics is not life. Most people fit politics into life only at election time or when a local issue engages their hearts and minds. More folks follow sport rather than parliamentary activity.
People like myself and my social circles who are political watchers/news addicts, are a minority. It is to them that my anxiety is addressed, because I wonder how we ease down the pressure we have been mounting during this unfortunately extended campaign.
No matter who forms government after this election, a larger part of our lives is not touched by federal politics than is affected by Ottawa’s leadership. We have to get perspective on that. Hating — and that word is not too strong — a certain leader, is demeaning to your spirit and degrading to our public life.
Most important, you have to get along with all kinds of other Canadians, some of whom will be celebrating “their” victory and some of whom will be miserable at the defeat of “their” choice for government. Canada is not yet a copy of the USA where whole sections of big cities or whole rural counties are of one political view without exception (i.e., blue or red).
The state of the planet is more important than any single issue interior to Canada, but of course the intimate connection between our choices and the fate of the world ecology and economy is pretty self-evident. Whatever we may think we are choosing only for our nation and our material circumstance, we are in fact choosing paths that affect the planet.
In closing, I wish to urge readers to quickly move beyond immediate reactions, good feelings or bad, after the election, and put the balloting results behind you as you live other parts of your life. If activism is a habit, don’t give it up, fight for your causes. I am personally resolved to wean myself from news and political preoccupations after Oct. 19. I will put my energy in causes where I think my effect will be felt.
The rule of thumb is simply stated if not easily lived. Be passionate in what you do, engage your causes with the best you can bring to them — but do not be attached to the outcomes. The journeying, not the terminal where the journey is over, is the most important thing for a fulfilled life.
Charles Jeanes, Nelson