Four years ago a politician came along that made me care again.
That man lost his battle to cancer early yesterday morning, and it’s been weighing heavily on my mind since initially hearing the news.
Jack Layton was an incredible man. I could dive into his history and tell you all about him, but I’m simply not enough of a wordsmith to be able to top what has already been written about him.
Out of everything that Layton ever did as a politician, his genuine caring for people will stand out the most for me. All he ever talked about was helping the “every man” have a better life. He was seen as one of the few politicians in this country who actually cared…a politician who actually believed in the things he was saying.
What I want to remember about Jack Layton isn’t so much to do with politics as it does his credo…his mantra…his own personal slogan: Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done. He never gave up and never wanted to believe that he couldn’t do something. He took a joke of a political party and made Canada believe that he could be Prime Minister, which helped them achieve official opposition status this past spring. By showing people that anything was possible, he inspired those around him and those who followed him.
And it wasn’t all about inspiring people with political views. Even at the end, all he wanted to do was continue to instill hope and inspiration in others. He actually wrote a letter on August 20th to all Canadians, as he felt his time was coming to an end…
“To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.” – Jack Layton, August 20, 2011
Canada has not just lost a great politician. Canada has not just lost a great man. Canada has lost one of those guys who you genuinely felt as though you could sit back and have a beer with. Honestly, as a Canuck…that’s probably one of the best compliments I could give somebody because there aren’t nearly enough of those guys around these days.
RIP, Jack. Thank you for the inspiration.
“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. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.
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.”
– Jack Layton, August 20th, 2011