I’m not one for personal resolutions but as a columnist, I am certainly for suggesting a communal resolution that will go a long way to strengthen our democracy in 2020.
Learning how to accept political loss gracefully is an art and a commitment which will go a long way towards all of us living in a more respectful society.
2019 was a difficult year for a lot of Canadians; with many Albertans either finding it difficult to accept the rise of the UCP government in Alberta, or alternatively the continuation of Trudeau’s governing Liberal Party in Ottawa.
The thing about understanding democracy is that sometimes it doesn’t deliver the results you want, and it is on the electorate to accept those results in stride. This does not mean that grassroots activism is not a valuable part of our democracy — it very much is — but ultimately, we all live in this country together and it is on us to do so respectfully regardless of whether the other side won this time.
It is easy to champion the merit of a liberal democracy when your ideals are expressed entirely by the governing party. It is not so easy when your beliefs are challenged by those in power.
Respectfully and peacefully disagreeing is a sign of a strong democracy and painting our competing ideologies as automatically evil or sinful does not help a polarized society.
People disagree, it sucks, but a modern democracy is the best tool we have to prevent our disagreements from turning to violence and hate.
Your person won this time, their person will win the next time and on it will go.
I’m not suggesting that losers of elections should give up and not fight what they believe in — our freedom is dependent upon people championing the causes of justice — but it is important we treat our political others as neighbours rather than pariahs.
People are not inherently unintelligent for not understanding the world the way you do, and it is important for all of us to renew our bonds of humanity with one another rather than speaking down to those we disagree with.
Our democracy and the future of our country is contingent on us to bridge the gap with the people we don’t inherently understand. If we are unable to do so, we risk destroying one of the most stable, peaceful and welcoming nations in the history of mankind.
In 2020 it is my hope we make a vow to bridge the chasm we have created between right and left. We don’t have to accept and buy-in to each other’s worldview, but it is important we recognize and value the humanity in one another.
The future of our democracy relies on reasonable citizens, reasonably disagreeing.