Mr. Layton, you’ll be missed

In the field of politics, I consider myself an eternal optimist. I believe it is an absolute fact that the world can be changed by one great vision. What it takes is a spark from one brilliant individual, acting for the greater good, propelled by the inspired masses convinced of the positive influence it will have on their lives. What makes it politics is when they are convinced of the positive influence it will have on YOUR life.

It is the case at least 50% of the time that their vision is way off for the great majority. All the more reason to go back to the drawing board, pick up inspiration, knowledge and expertise along the way and try, try again.

I was in 2nd year university (2003) when a man sauntered in to our student centre late at night while a friend and I were studying and stifling our hunger with coffee. He breezed in with an air of confidence, making small talk and schmoozing with bewildered students. He came to shake my hand and I was much, much too cool to stand. The man was Jack Layton, and just this morning he passed away. Succumbing to the cancer which had provoked him only a month ago to temporarily step down. He was the leader of our official opposition party in Canada, who showed not only great political promise, but a genuine desire to see the dreams of all Canadians fulfilled. He believed, as I do, in the youth of our country. He saw our power and the immense opportunity that sits directly on our shoulders. He believed in our ability for positive, inclusive change. (Disclaimer: I never once voted for the man. I did not support his policies as they applied to my constituency. End political rant.)

I feel sad that our country may have missed out on a great leader, and a great change. In either case, we are now all sadly missing out on a great voice. He left us with this letter, a line from which I feel should be tattooed on my soul forever more:

          “…love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

Rest peacefully, Mr Layton. You will be missed.

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