Silence is Golden

Silence is golden. Speech is oft referred to as silver, thus making silence more valuable. In quiet reflection, the opportunity to find clarity emerges bringing with it insight and hopefully transparent articulation. Sadly this appears to be missing on all fronts in current provincial politics.

Premier Notley, as a leader, isn’t pointing fingers over the furor created recently with the introduction and passing of Bill 6. In a recent interview with the Calgary Herald, she said “We have to take responsibility ourselves for the fact that we created a certain amount of confusion in how we originally communicated and we allowed families to be in a position where they were worrying about what the impact of these changes would be on their family farm.”

A strong opposition is important for a vibrant democracy. Government must work together for the people it represents. It is more important that truthful, reasonable and accurate discourse occurs instead of conflict and division, if the best solutions are to be found for Alberta. By embracing the institutions of this province and its democratically elected government and not fueling the fires of those who would subvert them, the official Opposition has the opportunity to exhibit leadership rather than reactivism. The ultimate goal is working towards strengthening democracy not destroying it.

Unfortunately, an ugly and potentially violent fringe is trolling social media attempting to undermine the tenants of Canadian democracy. Disagreements should be able to take place, perhaps even passionately, but not taken to the place where criminal acts are being voiced and allowed to remain visible on public political forums. Some of the things that have been written are not free speech. Rather they are simply vile. A monster that justifies bad behavior is being created by the “noise” in both social and mainstream media. This monster is like so many others of its ilk intent on creating and generating fear thus preventing people from joyfully experiencing life.

The opposite of expression is silence. Leonardo da Vinci stated, “Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence.” What occurs to in silence that creates strength? How does it occur? I believe it works two ways – both for the governing party and the opposition. Better answers emerge once we learn to be still. Those answers may lead to actions.

What kind of a difference we chose to make is up to us. More is accomplished when we are respectful of one another. Social media has the ability to taint reputations quickly with information that may or may not be true. I’ve had to remove posts when I failed to determine their accuracy. I’ve chosen not to post when doing so is based on an emotional reaction.

Information spreads like wildfire and before there is an opportunity to address the information, either to confirm, deny, or explain, an opinion is formed based on that information. Criticism before you know the outcome of others actions (read politicians actions) is often just bias.

Chose to begin the year with some silence before springing into action. I hear it is golden.

Published in The Newsy Neighbour – January 2016, Issue 99