Love, Hope, Optimism
This morning, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, Jack Layton, died. As of May 2nd, he was also leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons in Canadian Parliament.
This news breaks my heart. Mr. Layton was 61 years old in July – he was not “old” by today’s standard’s of longevity; but he had lived for much, and he had much yet for which to live.
What is heart-breaking is the momentum he was able to build in Canada, and now he won’t see its culmination or effectiveness. Regardless of one’s political views, I think many (most?) would say that Mr. Layton’s ideals were ones that put people first and fought for the well-being of all in society. His views transcended a nationalistic pride of a country’s place to put human beings as the priority on any agenda.
He wrote a letter a couple of days ago – dated August 20th – evidently feeling that death could come soon, and he gave thanks for many people. In it, he also gave words of perseverance and thought for the future, calling upon all people to consider how they fit into a bigger picture. Again, regardless of political perspective or sense of nationalistic pride, I think these words bear repeating – and they are words for all of us to consider as we look to make our own marks in life. I’ll copy them below…
Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the
world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where
there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about
change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you.
My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the
alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t
let them tell you it can’t be done.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us
be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
Mr. Layton: thank you for your contribution to Canadian life – you will be missed. To the Layton family: peace be with you, and thank you for sharing Jack with all of us.