LETTER: Why I decided to not run for council

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Editor: Many people consider me to be an extravert. And perhaps; then, this should or must be a prerequisite, if one wants to run for any public office, so I was told. However, just because I love talking to people and socializing at parties, relating stories of my many wonderful exploits both here in Chatham and abroad, does that make me a possible candidate?

And I do have a bit of a flair for the gift of the gab using creative and slightly embellished presentations.

I am an avid reader and want to educate and enlighten myself constantly to know and be familiar with what is going on both locally, domestically and internationally. And having traveled to over 45 countries, living abroad and teaching management theories for over 18 years and having experienced many different cultures, I have enough material to enhance many conversations.

I must admit, I was tempted. The reason I was considering running for office was mostly influenced by my fervent interest in our Chatham community and to see how I could, in my own creative way, contribute to its growing success.

I, like many Chatamites, am very vocal about what is right and what is wrong, and what we should do, or could do, or must do. One good thing, I suppose, about Chatham is that we are a vocal community.

Just sit awhile in any Tim Hortons and the resolutions for all of our troubles/challenges/concerns will be related, exploited, extolled, criticized and challenged.

In fact, I challenge our local leaders to just sit and have a coffee at one of these places and really listen to the people. You will soon learn what the people in this community really want and are concerned about.

And herein too is the rub. Sitting in these coffee shops, or on the porch of some neighbour’s house, or just sharing ideas and opinions at my sailing club is wonderful, enlightening, fun, amusing and even entertaining. But after the wine is gone and the sun sets, we head home and turn on our favorite TV program and think no more that day about all the worldly topics we covered/discussed and analyzed.

And in all of these discussions and pontifications there really isn’t any accountability. Words are just words. Opinions are just opinions with no recourse for admonishments or media scrutiny. One simply enjoys the pleasure of sharing thoughts and ideas.

There is a sense of freedom in being able to express one’s thoughts and ideas freely without being coerced to justify, apologize or defend these moments.

I recently asked Mayor Darrin Canniff what was/is, his opinion about the one quality he thinks is important to have to be a council member. He simply replied, “very thick skin.”

Now the implications of this comment are not surprising, but scary. Freedom of speech is what gives us the empowerment to happiness, I feel. And the will to help the community and express what one feels that will make a difference, to making this a better community, is almost utopian.

But creative minds, with a strong willingness to move mountains to do positive things are squished by naysayers and political commentators, or the wings of creativity and motivation to action are clipped by bureaucratic protocols. And then, what is perceived as political correctness vaporizes the motivation, simply because to take action involves risk. And from my experience, inaction is political action.

The risk posed to every political person is that if he or she has some idea/suggestion to make some kind of change, to enhance the community; change is then challenged from all sides. And why? Because of accountability.

Creative thinkers challenge the status quo. It’s inherent and part of their DNA.

Being human means we are prone to making mistakes. But only when we tread lightly into the night; and many times, do we know what lies ahead. Those who want to improve and grow know that they must tread into this unknown. Great progress has only been achieved because of this focus.

Having one life to live on this planet; what will be my legacy? Forging? Building? Improving? Or simply complying? Praying daily for divine intervention helps. But knowing my own personality, I ponder. Will I contribute more by creating, focusing more on my screenwriting, my painting, my volunteering, and doing something meaningful for society in my own way? Or by being entrenched inside the hallowed halls of a bureaucratic-laden institution where every move is met with opposition, dismissal, criticism, protocol and copious amounts of accountability? How thick must my skin be? Will I fly higher and do more with wings unclipped?

Interestingly enough, and perhaps even encouragingly, l was told that council members cannot be impeached.

 

Regina M. Stockus

Chatham

 

 

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