Original Thought · Uncertainty

Foxes and Hedgehogs

In the midst of the 2017 fall election in Calgary, Alberta I am reminded of a quote from the Greek poet Archilochus, who lived around 650 BCE, ” The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” The sly fox knows how to deceive his prey and predators with misdirection or misrepresentation or by hiding in the weeds. Even after he has been caught in the henhouse, he won’t just own up to the crime but deflects it towards a skunk, a weasel or another fox.
The hedgehog knows that transparency is the best defence and when he makes a mistake he acknowledges his position and rolls into a ball seeking atonement. He really knows many things but they all revolve around honesty. He knows he is a hedgehog, he knows he isn’t a horse or a hare or a frog. He has accepted his role and has determined to be the best hedgehog in the woods.

I am biased regarding the politics of my city. I was biased going into the campaign and signed the nomination forms for the incumbent mayor and incumbent councillor. I pretended to be objective and neutral during the debates I heard; pretended in the sense that objectivity and neutrality are myths. I bring the sum of my experience to my analysis of ‘evidence’, as do you. I heard nothing that changed my opinion of the candidates and was not persuaded to consider changing my vote. I cat my ballots in the advance poll in favor of Mayor Nenshi and Councillor Carra. I did, however, move my vote for Public School Trustee. The candidate that I initially was leaning towards did nothing to convince me of his trust and I was offended by the heir apparent message that I heard from a campaign worker. I exercised my franchise fully and I anxiously await the results.

In reality, whatever happens on Monday will have little effect on me personally. My taxes might go up 5%, I might pay additional fees for services I use or don’t, I might need to petition my representatives or engage in public forums but all those things have been part of my life for the last 30 years.
However, Monday’s results will have a dramatic impact on our city. Collectively we will be a different place depending on which frontrunner wins the Mayor’s chair. We get to vote once every four years and then wait and see how it plays out. There seems to be a clear enough difference between camps that I/we could predict where we might be when we go to the polls in October 2021. I have declared my subjective preference and no doubt that helps create a vision of a progressive, positive, passionate city where anything is possible for everyone. My worldview worries that under a less visionary leadership, we will see a city that is devoid of culture, except cowboys and hockey teams and a less caring and less equitable place to live.

I recognize that if your preference of candidates is different from mine, you may see hope and possibility through a different lens but that is what democracy is supposed to afford us.
For the next 48 hours, I am going to proudly wear purple and represent hedgehogs as best as I can.

If you live in Calgary, I encourage you to get out and participate in the process. Vote for whoever you choose but don’t let others make decisions on your behalf by not marking your ballot. Stand up and be counted. It’s too important not to.

Make Monday Remarkable,

Bob
And then let’s get back to building a world-class city on Tuesday morning.

Uncategorized

Democracy is Inconvenient

The process, practice and philosophy of democracy is painfully inconvenient. ¬†We hold our breath hoping that decisions made by elected officials don’t cripple us individually and collectively. Anticipating an election, our hopes are that changes will bring about needed results. We are willing to pay for better results. An election happens and very little changes. Government swells to fill all the ¬†imagined needs without actually meeting very many.

In elections and legislative voting, majority rules (or is supposed to ) but what does the majority know about the big issues facing our communities? How can we possibly understand the desires of minorities? Do we care or do we just get it over with?

The wheels slow down at 20% into the new term and by 40%, nothing is really happening. The wheels stop and we wait again. Slow, unrecognizable movement is swept away by a changing world.

Decisions that were easy during a campaign are now impossible. Re-election becomes the goal. The koolaid gets stronger and once energetic, passionate representatives become politicians.

Democracy is inconvenient. Winston Churchill had two famous quotes about democracy.

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all others that have been tried”

I don’t have THE ANSWER but would sure be excited to enter into a discussion or revolution that brought about something we haven’t tried.

Make Today Remarkable, by asking a difficult question,

B