I’ve been watching Canada’s reaction to the death of our beloved Opposition leader this week. Upon hearing of his passing, my first thought was a sad “Oh no.”
I’m sure most of us felt that way for a couple of reasons. First of all, I think we were all looking forward to some damn good politics coming out of Ottawa. When the NDP became the opposition under Layton, it felt as though we were finally going to have someone who would change the status quo of politics to something we could understand and relate to. It seemed that we had a ‘real’ person again, sitting in house, defending us against a bunch of overeducated talking heads. It felt like he was one of us, not a tight-lipped political Autobot. Sorry Stephen, but you have the public presentation and personality of my right big toe. And Ignatieff was a self aggrandizing arrogant prick. Sorry Mike, that ‘kiss my big ring’ crap doesn’t fly with us Canucks. Strange to think, but Canada felt like it may be a place to be proud of again. It seemed as if we didn’t knee jerk vote for our long-term parties agendas. It seemed we voted for the guy. The man who listened. A man we could have a drink with. Someone with a heart. It was exciting. Even more so to think that this poor bugger was sick with cancer and a hip replacement all the while doing so. Did that make us turn away? Not at all. Most of us watched and asked ourselves ‘How the hell is he doing that?’.
He believed with his heart that what he was doing was for the betterment of us all.
And we felt like he loved us.
So Stephen. Steve. May I call you that? Take a lesson. It doesn’t matter to us what you say or how closely you are following your party agenda. We really want to know that you care for us as your countrymen and women. That you have heart.
We want to see you roll up your sleeves and get dirty. We want to know that it’s not just about the dollar. We want you to give a damn about every last one of us. Rich, poor, young, old, immigrant, indigenous, gay, straight, every last one of us.
We want you to loosen that bloody tie and get real. If you did, I bet you wouldn’t look like you’ve sucked a pickled lemon all the time.
We want you to ‘put a little Jack in it.’
We’re going to need you. We feel hurt and saddened. Like an Uncle died.
Rise to it. Don’t go hiding. You do too much of that.
You can’t be Jack, but maybe you can learn a thing or two from him. The rest of us have.
By the way, you did the right thing honouring him with a state funeral. Good job.
Now get busy. And show us some heart.
RIP Jack Layton 1950-2011
You will be long missed.