Being Right...Now


Many are predicting a crazy political year ahead.  Like others I have taken time to reflect on where things have been and how the political winds have changed. My mom who passed years ago, has been top of mind as I contemplate the future.  She was politically active and campaigned locally, for the federal liberals. I would sometimes join her, during canvassing. Her influence got me interested in politics at a very young age.  I would do my own poll and go around on my bike and count lawn signs. I was on team Red with my Mom, so I was always hoping my final tally would lean their way. Her compassion for the less fortunate was her political compass. While that did steer her to the left, she had no tolerance for self righteous hypocrisy.  Oh how I wish she was still here to get her views on today. Luckily, with a little soul searching of her lessons the path she would take today becomes clear.  

My mom was fascinated by American politics. We lived in the States at various times growing up and she loved those Dems. So I know she would abhor Trump and his campaign of 2016. She would have seen through him for the narcissistic, opportunist he’s always been. She would have also been dismayed by the tactics of her side framing all his supporters as uneducated, racist deplorables. Shame and derision were not her methods. She persuaded us by appealing to our better qualities and taking the high road. So she would definitely not be at a loss, like other liberals, in seeing Trump’s appeal to those wanting to push back.     

During the pandemic, my Mom, a former RN, would have followed public health and trusted their guidance. I do know after some time, she would have eventually argued against the inequitable hardship caused by continued lockdowns and school closures. Her experience working in mental health and watching her grandkids would have had her sound the alarm bells about how the pandemic response was exacerbating a burgeoning crisis. She also would have been stupefied that her political hero’s son was using the pandemic as a wedge issue for political gain. Soon, she would understand through countless examples that unlike Pierre Trudeau, the desire for power trumps conviction with his neophyte, son Justin.  I can hear her say, "he's listening to the wrong people".

I am quite certain my mother would take the calls to action to fight climate change seriously, however, like the previous examples it would be the methods that would draw concern. My mom stressed to me as much as I might argue, that the ends do not justify the means. So I know she would take issue with environmental zealots who do the exact opposite in their fight to save the planet. As a classic liberal, my mom wasn’t against progressive taxes, but she wanted to see tax dollars spent in a judicious manner. That is why I am confident to say she would have supported Canada’s carbon tax in theory, but would be angry about the lack of accountability and results in practice by the current government. 

She would be upset most by seeing the despair and poverty felt by too many all around her. She knew that for a country to be sustainable and prosper business, not the government needed to be the main source of job creation and wealth. It was the role of government AND fellow citizens to look after those left behind.

I grew up in a house that taught us to be colour blind, but not blind to injustice. Martin Luther King was one of my mom’s heroes. She would be angry that we have still not reached the mountain top, but also worried that identity politics and the push to see race first and the person second is taking us back down the slope.  

A peace activist and amnesty international supporter in her day, my mom would straddle the line as many do between wanting peace and justice. While she loathed war, having lost her older brother Alex in Korea, she still understood the need to stand up to foreign tyrants and human rights abusers. So she would be very concerned with the increasing threat and influence from China, Russia and Iran. That is why I know she would be angry at her Liberal party for not taking the threat from foreign political interference seriously and allowing Canada’s role on the world stage to diminish. 

If I could speak to my mom today, I would tell her that first foremost good government was always the goal. Sadly, her team isn't providing that anymore. Our values have not changed to fight the problems that sadly still exist, but the methods of the left certainly have. The ends justify the means to them now, and their means are taking us backward.   

I know in my heart the way things have been going, I would be counting a blue sign on my Mom’s lawn now.  

This column was generated by human content. AI never knew my mom, and had no memory of her till now. 

By Gregory Cawsey