I have a few Canadian friends through Facebook and it’s from them that I recently learned about an extraordinary man. His name was Jack Layton. He died on Monday.
|journal page with ink, watercolour, inktense pencil, torn paper|
He was something called a politician. I’m not familiar with this word. I asked my friend if it came from the word polite and she assured me that it’s unlikely, given the way most politicians behave.
But Jack was a different sort of politician. In fact, it seems that Jack differed from other politicians in more ways than this. He was kind. He was sensitive. Mischievous, affectionate, loyal. Energetic, empathetic. Selfless. Determined. Hmmm, I thought: These words can be used to describe most dogs. From what I can tell by reading about him, he had the goodness of a dog with the vision of a humanitarian. He was a perfect hybrid of human and canine.
I realize that some people reading this might think this is a demeaning comparison, but keep in mind what I am. I am a dog and I know dogs. I trust dogs. I understand dogs. Dogs are pure and kind and good in a way that few people are. And any dogs who aren’t have a reason, and that reason is usually the fault of a human. We aren’t perfect. There are elements of our nature that I’m not proud of. But as the generations pass we are working at becoming better.
I see Jack as having possessed all the good characteristics of a dog combined with all the good qualities of humans, including a formidable human intelligence. He used these strengths to work at making Canada and the world a better place for all. He respected people, animals, the earth. He worked for a better future. Even as he was dying he looked to the future and wrote a letter to Canadians which concludes with a few powerful lines. If we all believe these words and live by them, indeed the world will be a better place.
“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.” - Jack Layton