I was one of the many who attended the meeting Wednesday night to listen to Willard Phelps’ vision for a new political party.
I was hoping to leave that meeting feeling inspired, and I did, by the great number of people who invested several hours of their evening to come out and interact. Most simply listened, while some spoke.
This large turnout is, indeed, a testament to how strongly people want political change.
Some speakers passionately expressed their desire for significant, even fundamental changes.
I greatly appreciate Phelps’ initiative in organizing this event, offering a vehicle for possible change.
And I decidedly did not feel inspired by the vision nor how it was presented.
Some of what I heard was blaming, shaming, labelling and patriarchal language: a focus on fixing something that seems fundamentally flawed. Repeatedly I heard the terms right and wrong, good and bad Ã judgments that only serve to separate us from others and thus lead to more partisan politics.
How can we ever hope to govern others if we don’t start by governing ourselves? What I and many others wanted to hear was about personal integrity, about taking personal responsibility for our individual actions and for the language we speak.
If we want to govern others, tell me how you consciously resolve conflict Ã‰ with your family at home, with your friends, your neighbours and your colleagues at work. If you honestly want to co-operate, tell me how you make decisions in a way that engender inclusion, full participation and, thus, ownership of what is collectively agreed.
Inspire me with visions outside the box.
Talk to me about stewardship rather than outmoded norms of leadership.
If you say you want a member-driven platform drawing from all political parties, then talk to me about diversity. Offer us some concrete ideas as to how to attract First Nation people, new immigrants, grey-haired retirees, union members, artists, businesswomen, hunters, tree huggers and most especially Ã‰ youth.
If you want me to feel inspired let’s speak about passion, exploring ways to express our true human nature of compassion, kindness and collaboration.
And if you want me to participate in recreating a world that is in balance, that is truly supportive of sustainable relationships in all ways, then you had better show me how to do it with joy, because if I and others don’t enjoy the process, why would we want to join?
Thank you, Phelps, for taking us one step further. People are craving positive change. People are clearly searching for a place to pour out their political passions.
We all want to feel part of something bigger than ourselves.
And most of us love a “good” party.
So Ã‰ your place or mine?
Or can we meet somewhere entirely new?