I imagined starting the year off with a message with a bit more joy and reflection on my 2020 that has brought me here. A celebration of sorts.
This past week of events in Calgary, Alberta, and across North America has me asking myself and wondering: what on earth I’m doing endeavoring to go into politics? Is this what I really want to be a part of?
The answer is no. I don’t want to be a part of any of what we’re currently watching - lying, rule breaking, entitlement, inciting division and hatred, and an abject failure to take responsibility.
I am horrified, disgusted, and saddened at the events that are playing out this week. These events will (and should) reverberate into the months and years ahead.
As I watch, I wonder how we can turn this around? How do we build trust again? How do we overcome the fear, fatigue, and loneliness so many are feeling leading to our collective distaste for government and the people who are elected and hired into positions of power?
Before the how, we need to ask why. Why is it important to us, to me, to want something different? Why are we afraid? Why are we tired of the current state of politics? Why do we feel alone?
The answer is either deeply complex but more likely, incredibly simple. I’m going to be critical and say those from across the political spectrum are collectively speaking words and using language which drives us into a deficit mindset: one of feeling alone and afraid. The words of those in power falsely create enemies of each other by implying nothing another does is ever good enough, talking about resources as if there’s a finite amount for only certain kinds of people, pointing to differences rather than commonalities. When this messaging is reinforced by all leaders regardless of political stripe, the void between us grows.
The result: we have adults who are so deeply hurting that rather than leaning into their families and communities for support, they lash out at strangers with verbal and physical violence. This is happening in person and to a horrific degree, online. We are broken and there is no spirit of leadership to work together, to overcome challenges through intentional conversation and action.
It is not lost on me that in a time where we are physically more isolated than ever, a time when we are sharing collective grief, missing friends, family, and community, we have been divided more than ever. In a time when we could have been united, when those who lead could have set aside politics in favour of humanity and humility, they didn’t. Covid has been a situation when we could have found more in common with each other than different.
The disconnect is obvious - even my children are confused. I say to my kids, you don’t have to like or agree with everyone, but you need to be kind.
So why am I running? I’m a human who can see hurt but also hope in others. I’m the optimist who recognizes that moving forward requires consensus built through a pragmatic and realistic approach. The need to embrace innovation, build community, and compromise has never been more urgent. The need for real truths, hard truths, and discomfort must be embraced with humility by those who lead and reflected in their language.
What does this sound like and look like?
Writing this allows me to reflect on my values and the values I’ve set out for this campaign. This allows you to hold me to account to practice that which I’d like to see.
I am hopeful for 2021. I know incredible people building community, building a resilient innovative future, and can’t wait to meet more of them throughout this campaign.