There is an African proverb that teaches us “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.”
On October 18th we went to the polls to vote in our new City Council.
It’s been a hot election campaign with 2 candidates running for Mayor and 14 candidates running for Councillor seats. Along with the usual door hangers and lawns signs, there were many lively Meet & Greet events hosted by various community organizations and many offers by individual candidates for voters to “drop by for a chat” in an effort to convince us that they are the best person for the job.
This election campaign also saw much activity on social media – some of it good, some of it bad and some of it quite ugly.
And now it is done. The election is over, t new Council has been voted in and now it is time for us to come together to build back the “unity in our community.”
But how do we do that? How, when some of us may feel angry, not heard, and possibly misrepresented? How, when some of us feel so strongly that the people we voted for should be the ones on Council? How do we find our way to a place of peace, acceptance and faith; to put our feelings behind us so that we can move forward?
I ask you consider the following statement: “While our feelings are real, they are not necessarily facts.” Sometimes we get so emotionally attached to our feelings that we may blur the evidence of our feelings, emotions and viewpoint into evidence of fact. This can be very unproductive, hurtful and sometimes even harmful. It is a difficult thing I ask of you, but I ask you this: “Can you try to separate your feelings, emotions and viewpoint from the fact that a majority of people felt differently from you? Can you get to a place of peaceful acceptance of the fact that democracy was served?”
I propose that we cease to carry on the “fight” for the candidate of our choice and give the candidates who were voted into office a fair chance to do their job. I propose that we shift our mind set of “us against them” and move from a place of anger to a place of wishing the new Council well. Because in the end, whether we voted for them or not, they now represent us. And we must give them a fair and reasonable chance to fulfil the promises they made during their campaign. Think for a moment – what would be the upside of being so ticked off about who got voted into office that we actually hope they fail? At the end of the day, we are all in this together, and if they fail, then our city fails – and what would be the upside of that?
Yes, we will hold our new Council accountable. Yes, we will be vigilant in watching more closely what they say & do. Yes, we will stand up and question them when their words and their actions do align with their campaign promises. But we will do these things with respect, with integrity and with the intention to build up rather than tear down. Council will not be perfect, neither are we. They will not always know exactly how to solve every issue immediately, neither will we. But we must be willing to give them the grace and space to work on righting the wrongs while also creating the financially sound, environmentally friendly and pleasant community we are all dreaming of. We stand a much better chance of success if we commit to engage with open, respectful dialogue and a united desire.
Let us now come together and send our new Mayor and Councillors our best wishes and faith that they will do their best for us.
Let us try to find the common ground that enables us to build a bridge for us to meet on. It is time now for all of us to put down our weapons and pick up our tools and begin to build our community with honesty, integrity, intention and goodwill. Please let these ancient and wise words be our blueprint:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.”
This is my opinion – what’s yours?