I was a fan of Jack Layton. I voted for the New Democratic Party both because of his leadership and the neighbourhood in which I live would have greatly benefited from the NDP platform. But at the end of the day, Jack struck me as a guy who lived a life that spoke to the convictions in which he believed. That is a trait I admire in people.
He brought the out-dated social mandate of the NDP out of the basement of Canadian politics by contextualizing the social platform and turned the ‘orange crush’ into a major political party and eventually became official leader of the opposition. His leadership and message connected significantly with the population deeply concerned with social issues across Canada.
The media coverage on this has been interesting to engage with on TV and online. The major media outlets have been creating a narrative of his life in a few short news clips, blog posts or editorial columns. In the process, because he was an on the rise leader in Canadian politics, they have been extracting what the meaning of his life meant to the Canadian political landscape and beyond. They have all carried their own agenda’s, opinions and slants on that very same political landscape, thus framing his life in such a way that supports their cause.
Some have been putting him on a divine pedestal with the likes of Tommy Douglas and some totally devalue his the significance of his life and growing influence in politics. While the media comes at us in all forms with different agencies competitively seeking the dominant narrative of his life, we become lost in a world of signals that is essentially dehumanizing Jack. It is interesting though, in light of all the media that creates Jack to be something bigger than reality, a very human experience has initiated all.
Death. Death reminds us that we are all fragile. It reminds us that we are on this earth for a limited time.
Jack Layton had hopes and dreams. He had successes and failures. He was, indeed, very human. May we not hold him too high, or too low. May our remembering of a political leader ‘gone too soon’ be grounded in his humanity.
When I think of Jack, I think of a guy who passionately lived a life grounded in the convictions that he so deeply believed in. Whether or not you agreed with his politics, that is something to be admired.
How will you remember Jack?
“Ramble Posts” are little emotional rants of mine that I feel inspired to write from time to time. They represent my incomplete thoughts and wonderings. They are not meant to offend, rather to start a conversation about things that I have been thinking about.