Not Angry, Alberta

Some days you wake up and wonder what will be next in this crazy world of politics.  Spending as much time as I do on the subject, and with a focus on what seems to be the worst it has to offer, must take its toll.  This morning, however, I found a pleasant surprise: #NotAngryAB

If you don’t twitter, you’re probably happier than I (but where do you get your news??).  There is a depth to the political twitter-verse that is sometimes vile and often disheartening… but also incredibly funny, witty, honest and insightful. And sometimes… there is something that reminds you that people are open, optimistic and thankful: #NotAngryAB

We keep hearing how angry Albertans are, for various reasons, that mostly focus on a government of some stripe.  Brian Jean, former leader of the Wildrose and MLA for Fort MacMurray – Conklin, released a post Monday night where he said Alberta needed a “Mad As Hell Party”… and suggested we don’t already have a plethora of those.  Perhaps he was right. #NotAngryAB

As I read through the reasons why people were grateful they lived in Alberta, I saw a common thread; the mountains, thriving arts and entertainment sectors, excellent healthcare and education, a welcoming environment for themselves and their children; their families, complete with photos of cats and dogs.  It was uplifting.  #NotAngryAB

It also reminded me of the late Jack Layton, former leader of the federal NDP who was incredibly quick witted, snarky, focused, loud and had a personality so much bigger than he was.  Even though I wasn’t spending much time on politics back then, I knew who Jack Layton was.  

He was inspiring.  Not because he lied or provided false hope but because he was willing to fight for something.  He was the leader who made the federal NDP a household name and maybe even paved the way for Rachel Notley with his historic capture of over 100 seats in the 2011 election held in May of that year.  Sadly, he passed away in August of the same and that tide of hope went with him.

Layton himself was against further oil development and probably also paved the way for the LEAP manifesto.  This isn’t about his politics; it’s about what many people remember him for: he had hope and he was able to share it widely.  

And what is wrong with finding a way to be thankful for all we have in this province?  If you’re unemployed, you still have healthcare.  If you still have your health, you have opportunity; if you’re bold enough to try something new.  

Albertans are strong.  Albertans are free.  Albertans choose to stay in Alberta rather than go where the equalization flows… because life is better here.  And I’m thankful I woke up to #NotAngryAB because it reminded me that I’m not the only one who thinks so.  

I’m not concerned with who is going to carry the message of hope forward, as long as someone does.  In the words of a smart, charismatic, albeit sometimes angry populist: 

My friends, 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. ~ Jack Layton, 2011

This post contains both fact and opinion.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

dmaclean@countersign.ca

@Mitchell_AB @thisweekinAB

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