Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Loss Of A Leader

During the last election, I officially became a member of the NDP, but I've identified with the NDP since highschool. I had been impressed with Jack Layton as a politician ever since he became leader of the NDP and started to improve the fortunes of the party. And after he gave a talk at my law school a couple of years ago, where he went overtime answering detailed questions about policy, I have never trusted, never had as much faith in, as much hope for, a political figure as much as Mr. Layton.

He reasoned the same way I do. He thought about the impact of policies on marginalized people. He prioritized the interests of low-income families. I wanted him to be our next Prime Minister so badly, and after this last election, it seemed like that goal was within reach.

I'm afraid of what will happen in Canadian politics without Layton's galvanizing presence on the left, without his energy. I'm afraid that the Liberals and NDP will flounder as the Conservatives become the new "governing party".

But as Jack wrote in his last letter to Canadians, "Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair."

Despite the almost overwhelming sense of unfairness that he died before he could fully realize his potential and ambition, I have to acknowledge that what Jack Layton did accomplish was pretty awesome. And it's up to those of us who share his ambitions to take his accomplishments and run with them. So many are cynical about politics, but through political involvement we can build a better society and a better country. Jack almost got us there, we just have to go the rest of the way.