The death of Peter Lougheed has me thinking about leadership. And how our society, our country - even the world, seems to have so little of it. Lougheed was a leader, perhaps one of the last this province has seen.
A friend of mine used to run the sound booth at the Legislature in the 1970s. In those days, the technology was so antiquated that someone had to turn on the microphones for the members. My friend and I were both interested in the political process - although from different sides of the debate and although I sometimes disagreed with his politics, I couldn't help but be impressed with the substance of Peter Lougheed.
I've read that he strongly believed that you never attack a person in politics, only their ideas. He believed that voters would vote for a plan, not rhetoric. And his ego was healthy enough to know when it was time to step down and go on to something else, confident that he had mentored people to take his place.
How much of that kind of leadership still exists in politics today? Not just in politics, but in education. In health care. In the way we raise our children and participate in our communities. In my opinion, not enough.
We seem to be so easily distracted from what is important. The image of the Duchess of Cambridge's bare breast consumes more energy and time than the fact that in a few months Iran will probably have the capability to launch a nuclear warhead.
We get caught up in elitist and racist mutterings whenever a Harper government minister announces another plan to hunt down the unemployed or the newly arrived citizen. We muzzle ourselves, never asking the truly important question - "What is the vision, what is the plan?"
We abdicate responsibility for our children to teachers, the internet, and the legal system. We spend more time ripping the ties that bind a community together over Thunder in the Valley, than we do figuring out what we did wrong and what we did right, then moving forward.
And that we are so easily distracted from what is important is a sign to me that there isn't leadership, just alarmists and egotists racing from one fire to the next, saying, "look at me, look at me," and, unfortunately, we do. The substance of leadership is more about the led than the particular individual who pops up at any one time. Put another way, we get the leadership we ask for.
We need to up our game. We need to expect and support visionary, selfless, productive leadership. More importantly, we need to demand it from ourselves. The death of a leader like Peter Lougheed is an opportunity for us to reflect, and then take action. To not be distracted from what is vital, moral, innovative and responsible. To begin this moment to expect more of ourselves, and others. Who's in charge? We could be.