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Monday, December 18, 2006

Why the Snobbery?

This is going to be a very interesting Cabinet Premier Stelmach has crafted. I think people are already lowering their expectations of this Cabinet based on evaluation measurements that no longer really apply to modern governance roles and responsibilities.

We live in an intensely networked relational world that is more horizontal, competitive, connected and faster moving than ever before. Our social cohesion is breaking down as we are all working too much, too fast doing old style things for less and less marginal returns. Smarter working methods are being trumped by more of the same old even though we know that we can’t compete with the traditional models any more. Individual stresses along with community and family breakdown are all rising as a result.

The growing gap between rich and poor, have and have not, is especially troubling within Canada and internationally between the developed and developing world. The level of interdependence of all humanity is something very new as well. This is especially dramatic as we consider the consequences of our individual and collective behaviours as we share in the abusing the planet’s ecosystems. It may be foolish to some to be the first to change - but it is foolhardy in the extreme not to change at all.

So the new Stelmach Cabinet blog comments I am reading seems to me to be using old social scales and images to decide who should exercise authority and who is worthy of respect as we "evaluate the appropriateness" of the people in the Stelmach Cabinet.

In today’s world reality I am not interested in "expert" leaders or professionally packaged politicians who have had all the humanity media trained out of them. I don’t think the only goal of politics is winning the next election, although I acknowledge the importance of that to the candidates themselves.

I want curious, conscientious, caring, generous souls who like to laugh and have open minds and huge open hearts with a respect for differences and who can thrive on complexity who are interested in new ideas and open debate. Believe me that is not your “average Joe” but it could be, at least at another level of appreciation and understanding.

That being "comfortable in your own skin" sense of self and personal value set does not automatically emerge from a post-secondary education. Character gets taught in communities and in families and in dealing with others and in growing up and learning from ones life experiences. I am content to leave the professional job of government to the bureaucracy and the experts. I want politicians with humanity, humility, decency and honesty as their core expertise, skills and qualifications.

The politician’s role is about creating the conditions and the opportunities for synergies to emerge to help us all to improve our lives but in ways that are in harmony with each other and with nature. It is about the quality of the character and the compassion of the individuals that make for the best politicians. It is not all about the letters after their names or the pedigree of their parentage or the size of their “estates.”

It is more fundamental than that. Successful politician are those with the wisdom to help people to get stuff done - mostly for them selves, regardless of individual circumstances. Successful politicians are those individuals who are able to be them selves on purpose and at all times and in all situations. Successful politicians are those individuals who are “self-made” but only through the mutual benefits they created and enjoyed of, with and for other people.

Based on my criteria for success in politics, the most successful politician I ever met had a university degree but her self image was that of a farmer. She was only ever elected as a local school trustee. The exercise of pure political power was never her modus operandi. Her personal influence on people’s lives in the province however was enormous. I’ve never met anyone who did not love and respect everything this farmer cum politician stood for - even if they had never met her personally.

I am talking about Lois Hole. I wonder if we would be getting the same kind of veiled snobbery I see in some of the MSM and blogger-fodder if she was a new “no name” farmer member of Ed Stelmach’s Cabinet?