It is difficult to venture onto any form of social media these days without being bombarded with a steady storm of vitriol and bombast (some containing true facts, some full on fake news but most just twisted and spun with material that is far from being whole cloth). It is far too easy to vilify and demonize politicians whose partisan banners differ from ones own and to forget that these are people who are putting themselves on the line in the service of others, often at some considerable risk.
The recent visit from the new Ford government’s Community Safety Minister Michael Tibollo is a case in point. Arriving early, staying late, up at the crack of dawn again to meet with community members and discover on the ground what the issues are and spending countless hours on the road and in the air to get there.
But we don’t have to look so far afield to see that sort of dedication at work. Our own Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes (and her predecessors) put in countless hours travelling the highways and back roads of a riding that is literally one-sixth the size of France. Her provincial colleague Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha also logs an incredible number of kilometres in serving his community. Regardless of partisan affiliations, one a Progressive Conservative, the other two NDP members and their Liberal predecessors, who were just as dedicated in their commitment to their communities, deserve to be commended, not vilified.
While each of these politicians may hail from diametrically opposed ideological and philosophical stances, what binds them all in common cause is a commitment to serve the public and to serve them well. All of them give up time with their families and friends that most of the rest of us take for granted and all of them risk their lives daily, travelling on too little sleep, often fueled with copious doses of caffeine and on-the-road diets that would induce a dietician’s nightmare.
Simply basing our own respect for these individuals on how well their concepts of what would be in the best interests of the constituencies they serve fits in with our own partisan beliefs is not only a great disservice to those individuals but debases ourselves in turn.
Let us stop occasionally to consider the dedication and sacrifice being made by these incredible individuals and honour them. Whatever road we believe their good intentions may be taking us down, we should applaud and respect their passion and dedication for service.