Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Make it thy business to know thyself, which is the most difficult lesson in the world."

It seems that Quixotique's most recent musings (okay, rant) struck a chord in certain circles and was both well- and ill-received depending on which of those circles one runs in most. Issues of loyalty and concepts of constructive and destructive contributions were raised; Quixotique was requested to examine her motivations. A tough, but ultimately positive thing to do.

Quixotique counts herself fortunate to have learned at the feet of masters of Liberal Party politics and has taken many lessons from some very principled people, including, frankly, her parents. Parents instill the values that form our personal belief structure, the structure upon which we deport ourselves, the foundation upon which we base our motivations in whatever we do. There's no right or wrong on the emphasis our personal values lead us to on the (long, convoluted and complex) continuum between self- and global societal-interest in the context of motivation.

In the context of "party", it is basic shared values that bring us together, but our varying emphases on the continuum that make a party strong, whole and complete; all motivations are valid and all are needed.

One of those Quixotique considers amongst the masters is former Senator and Party President, Al Graham, a grand, grand democrat. Hansard excerpts from the time of Senator Al's retirement from the Senate in 2004, speak volumes, much more eloquently than Quixotique could, about these concepts of values and motivation.

Senator Jack Austin: "
From 1975 to 1980, Senator Graham served as president of the Liberal Party of Canada. Out of this time came his deep commitment to the democratic process and his determination to spread the ideas and practices of democracy to the emerging societies of the world system. He took that message around the world in his leadership work with Liberal International and the National Democratic Institute. His book, The Seeds of Freedom: Personal Reflections on the Dawning of Democracy, promotes the power of the individual to effect positive change."

Senator Lynch Staunton: "Senator Graham succeeded as well as he did because Al is, first and foremost, a traditional parliamentarian who recognizes that the proper functioning of the parliamentary system depends on both government and opposition respecting each other's roles and responsibilities. When one resorts to bullying, or the other to obstruction, the system can break down, sometimes resulting in mistrust which seriously hinders the working relationship that is so essential at the leadership level."

It is Al Graham who first spoke to me about these values, relating his philosophy and approach to partisan politics through a simple catch phrase that continues to resonate:
"Country. Party. Leader."
That's my motivation in this little endeavour. That is the order in which my loyalties lie when it comes to my own political life. I don't view the choice between loyalty to Party and loyalty to Leader as a binary one. In fact, I don't really view it as a choice at all.

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