There is room for leadership after Stanley verdict
We must build the future together, Aaron Paquette says
Coun. Aaron Paquette posted a series of tweets in response to the verdict in the Gerald Stanley trial. They appear here in the format of a guest column.
I’ve been asked to make a statement re: #ColtenBoushie #StanleyTrial. As an elected official — even locally and in another province — it would be irresponsible to make any statement that might colour perspectives in the event of what may be an inevitable appeal.
Additionally there is a necessary separation between judicial, legislative and executive powers in this country. They are parallel systems that should, as far as is possible, stay in their lanes. This is important.
There is already division. By offering my own personal thoughts and words I would be deepening this division without accomplishing anything beyond signalling virtue.
Any words about the system, or that “we must do better,” or that people should “remain calm,” or offering my “thoughts and prayers,” accomplishes nothing. Literally nothing resembling progress or justice or work happens with such statements.
But there is room for leadership. It can come from anywhere. It can come from you. We’re more than our daily (or centuries of ) battles. Having vision means we can see beyond the troubles of today and realize that any future we build, we must build together. That is apparent.
Families have been shattered. Communities have been shattered. And this will keep happening until we all stand up and see each other not as fools or monsters, but as neighbours and family.
Change is easy, and we can all do it. Admitting we need to get to change is our challenge. They have a fancy term for how hard it is for us to consider other/different viewpoints. It’s called cognitive dissonance.
What is it? Well, simply put, cognitive dissonance means there is actual discomfort and pain in considering other points of view. We don’t like doing it. At all. Even though it’s necessary for growth. We fight it! We can be stronger than that. We are stronger than that.
I’m not going to tell you there is a mountain we will all climb together, hand in hand. I would love to tell you that. But I can’t. But there is a place. And you’ll come with your burdens. You will arrive exhausted. You may even be distrustful.
Experience will have taught you that others blame you for events that feel beyond your control, for systems that you didn’t consciously build or support. And that chafes. Of course it does. We’re all heroes in our own stories, right? It hurts to be called villain.
So my suggestion is simple. Come to the place. It’s a place not of peace, but of struggle. A place where we demand of ourselves humility. Where we use our ears, our intellect, our sense and our heart.
You don’t have to love — or even like. But you certainly can’t hate. It’s just not going to get us there. Neither is mockery, gloating, trolling or “just asking ” those far from innocent, insidious questions that perpetuate division. If you can’t do that, you’re doing it wrong.
So come to that place where we do it right. We will strive to understand one another — even when it’s hard! We’ll be open to other perspectives so that at the least we can understand those viewpoints with some compassion — even if we can’t agree.
At least it’s a start. The weary, well-trod path of anger and fighting is deep. It takes work to step into that new, rich soil to carve out a good road, in a good way. But we’re not afraid of work. And we’re not afraid. We can stand together even if we are apart.
If you’re not into it, then step aside and let the workers work. You’re always still welcome to join in. Families are shattered. Communities are shattered. It’s time to put it together. Together.
The weary, well-trod path of anger and fighting is deep. It takes work to step into that new, rich soil to carve out a good road, in a good way.