Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Passion is Great … Most Times

I have been watching the Canadian election unfold on Facebook, Twitter and other media and frankly, the process that is evolving is somewhat disappointing.

The passion that both candidates and voters are exhibiting is quite cool.  Having a passion for what one does and believes in is an essential part of Life.  In some parts of Canada, such as my native Newfoundland and Labrador, politics is right up there with religion as a way of Life.

However, once one gets past the passion in search of the facts that can make a voter an informed one, things become a little murky.

I have asked different people in various forums to explain how a policy by insert federal leader name here would be paid for or is better than an opponent’s idea and in over 90% of the cases the result is the same.

No matter whose policy I name, the people defending that person deliver a litany of personal remarks against the followers of any of the other leaders.

But alas, very rarely does anyone just answer the question in a fact-based way.

This suggests that the rabid followers of the different political parties don’t know the facts (either that or the facts are so secret that the rest of us aren’t privy to them).

It has often been said that people who don’t know the facts or run out of facts or justification for an opinion often resort to personal attacks or insults with the hope of bullying their opponent into submission.

This happens in business, politics and Life itself – a sad, unfortunate truth that prevents us from reaching our ultimate potential in so many aspects of society.  Many times, the loudest person carries the day over the smartest one.

The great challenge is that when we use passion alone to steamroll over people instead of choosing to be informed and using this knowledge to convince others, there’s a good chance we turn many people away whom we may have convinced to become a partner or collaborator with us.

When this happens, the result we are trying to bully others into creating for us becomes even more elusive.

And instead of creating a desired result, we may end up creating the very result that we complained so hard about needing to avoid in the first place.

Ahhhhhhh …. I really am a dreamer, am I not … to be trapped in the belief of a utopian world where:

  • We seek knowledge to be informed and educated …
  • We use logic and facts to respectfully make a point or to convince an opponent …
  • We value the opinions of others, even when we disagree with them …
  • We embrace the notion that no matter what happens, we are all in this together, to make our world a better one for all of us …
  • We find a way to wrap passion around all of this so that we push ourselves and others to be the best we can be without wasting our potential by crushing each other.

I guess I am more an idealist than I thought. :-)

As a Canadian who has lived abroad for a long time, the one thing I worry about is the level of disrespect I see between Canadians who are passionately promoting their choice while using their passion to trash the opposition.

Facts are often absent or seem irrelevant – steamrolling others seems to carry more weight.

Canadians often espouse their passion but also their humility, pointing at their neighbors to the south and saying “thank goodness we don’t act like them at election time”.  Hmmmmm …. are we sure about that?

I believe that the longer one stays uninformed about the workings of the world, the greater the chance the world will move in a direction that we may not be happy with.  By not choosing to understand it, our ability to influence it diminishes over time.

And this above all, worries me.

How about you?

In service and servanthood,


My Musings-in-a-Minute entry for “Passion is Great … Most Times” is the same as this entry and can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. One of the worst aspects of this misplaced passion is that it attracts the distracted and repels the informed. Then the the probability of the least level-headed people goes up and the most level-headed people goes down. We then are surprised when thug-ocracies emerge.