Empathy and Elections

Someone I care deeply about but hadn’t seen in many years once declared, “life has been better to me than I deserve”. And he did indeed have a good life. His own law firm, world travel, a condo in Palm  Springs; a fortunate life.

I’ve often thought about that phrase and I recently realized that life has been better to me than I deserve too. I’ve spent my whole life feeling like I’m faking it – you know, “fake it until you make it”, and I know that I came across as heartless and self-centred at times, and at times I really was. I had to fight and even bend the rules at times in order to just survive, to stay alive. That’s been my whole life.

But now, I’m tired of faking it and I’m tired of fighting.

The fact is, I care very deeply. In order to survive though, I’ve had to push my feelings down and act tough. When someone is hurting, it reminds me of my hurt and I’m in pain with them. When someone is sad, it makes me sadder than I already am, and I hate that we’re both so sad.

So, I have a vested interest in helping others. If I can make their life a bit better, I reap the real benefit. People have helped me along the way (intentionally or unintentionally) and I want to pay that forward.

That’s why this election means so much to me. If I was growing up now in what were my circumstances, with a government as uncaring and mean – yes, mean! – as this government, I never would have survived, never mind thrived.

It was a Liberal government who gave me chances. Who closed the orphanages and instituted a good foster home system. Who cared about us. Who gave single mothers accessible child care subsidies so they could go to school or work. Who helped people get ahead. And I want the next generation or two to at least have the same benefits and opportunities that I had. So they can become contributing members of society as well.

That’s not too much to ask.

But that’s not Stephen Harper. And that’s not the Conservatives.

We have been through recessions before. The sky doesn’t fall. The world doesn’t end.  We adjust and move forward. But we don’t lose faith in ourselves, as a people, as a Nation. We don’t stop caring about others. We don’t turn our backs on those less fortunate and deny them opportunities.  We have always survived recessions by investing in our infrastructure and investing in our people. And we can do it again. And survive it again. And pull together in unity as a Country.

It really is a time for change – a change back to who we really are, so we can ALL benefit.

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