The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow. - Jim Hightower
The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. - Coco Chanel
The heavy response to my blog from a couple of days ago, PC Party of Alberta – Proving Einstein and Churchill Right? and earlier posts such as To Demand Better of Your Politicians, Demand Better of Yourself, Going Bat Sh*T Crazy with Alberta Premier Jim Prentice and other posts remind me of a funny children’s story I read as a young boy.
The story, Who Will Bell the Cat (and its variants), goes like this:
A group of mice were arguing in a mouse hole one day about a cat that had been terrorizing them. With every passing day, the cat would sneak up on one of them without warning and would make off with the unsuspecting victim. The mice were now tired of this and were arguing about what to do about the villain.
One mouse suggested that if they put a bell on the cat’s neck, then he would no longer be able to creep up on them unawares.
Recognizing the brilliance of the solution, the mice spent considerable time congratulating themselves on how they had solved the problem when their celebration was interrupted by a lone voice in the back of the mouse hole.
“The solution may be brilliant”, observed a wise old mouse, “but who will bell the cat?”
Silence filled the mouse hole and eventually the mice went about their business, realizing that there is a big difference between being full of ideas and having the courage to carry them out.
The PC Party of Alberta has been plagued by difficulty for some time, with a significant amount of dissension within the ranks regarding a number of things, including but not limited to very interesting personal interests and habits of former MLAs that have not been revealed to the public, interesting personal interests and habits of current MLAs, significant unhappiness with the current Party President and her lack of publicly visible leadership, significant concern over the potentially unethical, immoral (and possibly illegal) actions of some MLAs in the last election, the performance of the current interim leader, the belief by some that the last election wasn’t really lost (really?) and other things.
Then there are the Party members who discourage dialog by shouting down anyone who dares to suggest that something might be wrong and the grotesquely diabolical who actively discouraged dialog around change before the election (because everything was perfect), came to an amazing epiphany after the election that dialog around change was welcomed and needed (and wrote beautifully moving passages to promote this) and yet who work behind the scenes to make sure that such dialog is still controlled, restricted or prevented.
Whew … take a breath.
Meanwhile, members pound tables in frustration in coffee shops, covertly send emails and text messages back and forth and post vague or thinly disguised messages of concern on social media.
Interestingly, many of these messages (including the private ones) end up on my laptop and phone, with people saying “you should say something about this”, which is curious enough, but it is always followed by “but make sure you don’t quote me”.
The content is so intriguing, titillating and damning and its delivery so covert that I feel like The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Occasionally, I make observations about the PC Party (and other political parties, to be fair) and there is a public gasp of “I can’t believe he said that” and a private whisper of “Thank you for saying that – you have much more courage than I do.”
My suggestion to members of the PC Party of Alberta is this:
If you see ways to make the Party better for the sake of the Party itself, its members and the people of Alberta, such ideas won’t see the light of day if you choose not to take action or if you insist that the ideas only be discussed in dark recesses and alcoves that allow you to whisper your ideas without someone discovering your identity.
It takes courage to make change.
Lack of courage with plenty of ideas merely produces dissent, cynicism, frustration and wasted energy.
And it doesn’t get you re-elected.
After all, drinking the Kool-Aid is like drinking vehicle coolant – both have the potential to produce blindness.
People kept quiet in the past, often selling their own souls, their ethics and their morals, so that they wouldn’t be thrown out of power.
But the difficulty now is that doing the same thing keeps one from improving, both from within the Party to root the rot out and to present a stronger Party that is more in tune with the people of Alberta in the 21st century.
Until this happens, the ethical, moral, ideological and yes, legal foundation will never be there to form another government …. ever.
The problems have been identified.
The “villains” have been outed.
Many great ideas and brilliant people exist (especially younger people) to make a significant, positive difference to the Party and to the Province of Alberta.
However, brilliant ideas and an endless supply of passion require courage in action to bring these ideas to fruition.
So … the only question remaining is …..
….. who wants to bell the cat?
In service and servanthood,
Addendum – Members Weigh In …. Anonymously
A number of members have emailed or texted me to thank me for posting this musing. Ironically, they prefer to remain anonymous, thus demonstrating the depth, breadth and scale of the problem that exists within the Party.
Addendum 2 – The Importance of Data – August 24, 2015
After the PC debate in Calgary-Foothills tonight, this item was posted by a PC Party supporter (click on image for larger version):
The data used by Ms. Walker to confirm that Mr. Houston is the best candidate is either humorous or pathetic, depending on how you look at it. With powerful insight like this, how can the Party go wrong?
Addendum 3 – Questioning the Strategy – August 28, 2015
Watching the lackluster performance of Mr. Houston in several debates and recognizing that he is a perpetual candidate who has ran for various seats over the years without winning any of them, I wonder why the PC Party chose him over a “ringer”, especially if the riding is as important to the Party as they claim.
Is this a strategic failure on the part of someone within the PC Party or did they believe or fear they were going to lose despite their desire for a win, thus not wanting to sacrifice a more important player?
Only a select few know.