A Challenge: Can we take the road less travelled?
Posted on September 09, 2013 by Richard Einarson
My mother passed away last Thursday night. I had a great deal of time to think while I watched her slip away. Mostly I thought about her, and her life. She was born during the Depression of the 30’s, lived through a world war and raised five children, three as a single parent. With just a basic education, it was tough to make ends meet, yet she looked at life and said, “I can give up or I can go on, but I have three young children that need me, so there is no choice, I have to go on.”
I also remember that her generation was the one that after the war, wanted to build a better country - one that provided opportunity for their children and one that would make their children and grandchildren’s lives better than their own. They succeeded admirably, building a world class economy, providing world class education and giving us a standard of living that most of the world can only dream about. Unfortunately, it may have made us - their children - somewhat self-centered, inward focused, and self concerned whereas, in their youth, a sense of community was necessary for survival. Now it seems that the superficial is more the order of the day.
Needing a chance to relax a bit, and a break from the stress and planning, I met with a friend for supper the other night. He told me that he sometimes gets the feeling in Alberta, that there is little sense of ownership; that many people come here to work and make money and then move on to their next opportunity. I thought, “My God, if the need for oil and gas ended tomorrow, how long would it be before Calgary and Edmonton looked like Detroit?” It’s happened before! How long did it take firewood merchants or coal merchants to discover that no one wanted their wood or coal any longer?
The time came to clean up my Mom’s room at the long term care centre. I took down her pictures, packed her beloved ornaments and took her clothes from the drawers. When I was done, I looked around at a bare room, and I realized it’s not a building that makes a home, it’s the people who live and work in that building. I think a city or a province is much the same. It’s about the people.
Most people are pretty much concerned about their own little worlds until some issue arises and they have to deal with a system that seems remote, is slow to respond, or seems to be built more on power and greed, than it is on people and community. Please don’t get me wrong. We all want to have as much as we can: a bigger house, a better vehicle and other trappings of our society. (I bought a new truck last year!) Yes, crisis does bring out the best in people as we saw during the floods this summer. But I ask, “Why does it always have to be crisis which brings out the best in us? Why can’t it be an everyday occurrence?”
I guess, ultimately, the experience of losing my Mom and reflecting on her life, has made me think that it all comes down to this; how do we recapture the dedication, and the drive and ambition that made our parents and grandparents work so hard to build the country they dreamed of for us? Are we still worthy of their sacrifices? Can we inspire Albertans to put community ahead of self and to make this province one of people and not just buildings and possessions? How do we get Albertans to collectively desire to build a bright future for our children, as our parents and grandparents did for us; one built around community and not greed; one of great ideals and not thoughtless empty words?
This party is faced with a big challenge and it will have challenges within it. Will we take the usual road to government or will we stand by our principles and our ideas, with integrity? It’s easy to say what people want to hear. It’s easy to make people happy with promises and ‘stuff’. It’s easy to trot out lots of words and numbers that confound people into thinking that the ‘trotter’ is right. Governments have been doing this in Alberta, and Canada, for a long time.
It takes strong and courageous people to do the right thing. It’s like Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”. As a board member of the Alberta Party, I am dedicating myself to that road, because my mother and many, many other mothers, fathers, grandmas and grandpas, living or passed, deserve this. And many young people, alive and still to be born, deserve this too. I challenge you Greg, and you Troy, and I challenge each one of us on this board, and in the party, to be worthy of, and willing to undertake this task to work diligently, with integrity. I challenge you to lead by example and to take the ‘road less travelled’, because that is the right road. There are great people in this province. They have shown it once again, this summer. I believe that, in the end, an Alberta Party that holds true to its roots and values will inspire them to trust us with their government.
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.