"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
Jack Layton spent most of his career in federal politics as an also-ran. He was always number three behind the Conservative's Stephen Harper, and the leader of the Liberal Party- Jean Chretien, Paul Martin, Stephan Dion, Michael Ignatieff - take your pick. Hell, poor Jack was even the third wheel behind Gilles Duceppe for awhile.
But it seemed that divine providence had ordained that In May of 2011, Jack Layton suddenly and unexpectedly became a power to be reckoned with. The Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. An also-ran no more. The timing was never more critical for a leader with a social conscience and a vision for a more just and humane Canada to rise to power to counter the inexplicable ascension of the black-hearted, corporate driven, ultra-right-wing Conservatives to majority status. But God, in his often times mysterious sense of justice, saw fit to take Jack from us just when it seemed he was needed most.
But Jack left us a powerful parting gift, his final words to the people of Canada. In it, he spells out quite succinctly, all that is best in human kind as well as his vision for a kinder, gentler Canada. And his words have resonated around the country like a golden sonic boom.
It is a peculiarity of human nature - a strength really - that when a loved one passes away, those of us who are left behind cling together and are united by the common bond of grief and of the loving memory of the dearly departed. It becomes a "noble obsession" that the final wishes of the deceased be honored at all cost. It is part of how we grieve, to honour the memory of the departed. And this "noble obsession" is a powerful force. One that can move mountains and, if need be, change the world.
On another occasion when God's wisdom seemed absolutely baffling, he saw fit to take his only son from us, just when humanity seemed to need him most. But the power of his legacy, his memory and his vision for a more loving world has lived on for two thousand years. The power of the memory of God's son changed the world.
Jack Layton was certainly no "messiah". Not by a long shot and he would cringe at the notion of anyone thinking to make such a claim. But Jack was most certainly, a man of the people. Everyone's friend, even to those who didn't know him. He cared about everyone, particularly those in need. He had a charisma and a charm that naturally drew people to him. When Stephen Harper was shunning and vilifying the members of the media during the last election campaign, Jack was strumming his guitar and having sing-alongs with them. "Love is better than anger"
So even though we are now missing a noble leader to counter the creeping evil of the Corporatist agenda, we are now 35 million citizens strong, drawn together by the memory of a man who believed that "...Hope is better than fear and Optimism is better than despair" and that the power of love could change the world. A vision for a better Canada, just when we needed it most.