Liberal delegate shares Gerrard Kennedy experience

To the Expositor:

Well, everyone, you live and learn so never think you won’t have any more new and transforming experiences because as long as you are conscious and leave yourself open to change you can learn to see the world anew. I used to think I was good at Buddhism having read widely and thought long about it since my mid teens. But I see now that until I was truly elderly and past my three score years and ten, I was naïve about time. Youth have a poor grasp of time and how change works. This is developmental and cannot be helped. It would not of course hurt for them to know this as a biological reality. Change is going on all the time but we cannot see it until we have enough experience. If a man of 40 thinks he is still 18 and behaves accordingly expect trouble. I am leading up to telling you that last night I got home from a dash to Toronto. Left here Thursday last. Friday I checked into the Holiday Inn and registered for the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention at the Maple Leaf Gardens. We joined a very diverse and cohesive group supporting Gerrard Kennedy (GK) and for two ballots stuck with him. But when his support did not grow he asked all of us to meet with him in a private, press-free room to discuss what to do. Now this in itself was a wonderful and inclusive experience that has not characterized my involvement with politics heretofore. He told us that his strong personal feeling was to throw his support to Kathleen Wynne (KW).

Now you have to know that KW is a veteran politician, an expert in mediation and consensus building and a gay woman. She made all this clear in her amazing introductory speech, one of the most candid, authentic, sincere and unadorned addresses I have ever heard. BJ and I were instant fans, so when GK asked us how we felt about his thinking we, and virtually all his 280 supporters, gave our very loud and vocal support. He asked if we would go with him as a group to Kathleen Wynne’s camp and tell her we wanted to join with her and at this point as I write, I am overcome with emotion which I have until this moment been unable to express but which I felt very strongly at that time.

For some mysterious reason her followers were like herself and as we pushed our way through the throngs of people and it became clear where we were headed, the Wynne camp let out a shout that nearly took the roof off. They were already over 700 strong and they fed and watered us; gave us the Wynne scarves off their necks and hugged us. We gave them the votes she needed to become the first female premier of Ontario, the first openly gay premier of Canada and possibly in the world and then, for the first time in my life I felt that I was part of a cresting wave that really felt like a social revolution, inclusive, fair and free from the “mind forged manacles” of the past. I would not have missed this experience for the world.

Today the knee jerk neo fascist right wing is already attacking her, but if they were not I would be worrying. We broke the mold as one of our new friends there said and the reaction of frightened people is a good sign. The snow falls thick and fast again outside but inside my heart is warm with hope of a better world to come. I have learned to see change as it is happening and that is a gift beyond price. Someone said long ago that love conquers all. Perhaps too much cynicism is very bad for human well being. Perhaps politics without love dehumanizes. There was a hint of love and hope at this convention. If you think I have lost my mind, look around at this world and if you don’t think we have lost something essential perhaps you should think again.

Joseph Gold