Friday, September 17, 2004

Surprised I'll Miss Her

Christy Clark announced her resignation from Provincial Cabinet and from her position as Deputy Premier last night and declared that she will not run for re-election as our local MLA in 2005. I should be jumping for joy, but surprisingly, I feel sad. I have thought of her as the embodiment of everything bad for our schools and social programs in BC. I have met with her, I have written letters to the editor directly criticizing her words and actions. I should be over the moon to see her go.

But I feel sad.

Minister Clark's explanation for stepping down is that she is choosing to spend more time with her husband and preschool age son. Maybe this is part of why I have this surprising sadness. I can understand the pressure to balance home and family with responsiblities in the outside world, and I know too, as a parent who has fought against cuts to education and social services, that getting out into the community and speaking up takes time and energy that have to come from somewhere. It's ironic that we must neglect our families in order to work for the changes that will benefit them.

Also, I have always had this sneaking suspicion that it must be hard for Christy Clark to preside over cuts and policy changes (both in the Education and Children and Family Development ministries) that have hurt so many people. I have heard her saying that it's all for the best, that we'll just have to work smarter and more efficiently, and that funding is actually increasing (hey, that's a whole other story). But my heart tells me that she knows better. Maybe she's just tired of having to be responsible for all of this hurt. Maybe, just maybe, even she doesn't believe everything she has been telling us all along.

So besides feeling sad I feel hopeful. And mostly I feel glad that I have chosen to get involved in these issues, get to know Christy Clark, become an activist parent. The one place where the duty to home and to the outside world has not conflicted is in the example I can show my kids. They watch me writing, phoning, attending meetings, conferences and rallies. Whoever's political view prevails doesn't matter so much as the fact that the kids see that we do have a voice and a responsility to use it. I know that Christy must feel that way about her son. I sure feel that way about my children. My son is excited about helping to support our NDP candidate in the coming election. My daughter talks about the issues with me at supper and in the car. So that's where the hope is. I know, long after we all forget who Christy Clark was and what I wrote in the local paper, those kids of mine, and hers too, will know that this world is theirs.

Question: Were you ever surprised like this?

mompoet - stopping short of sending a hallmark card

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