Fear, or Hope?
It's Sunday, May 7th, 2017, in the evening.
In less than 48 hours, we'll have a good idea of how the 2017 BC Election is turning out.
A mere two months ago, I was nominated to represent the BC Green Party in the BC NDP stronghold of Port Coquitlam.
I must admit, at times, I am finding myself filled with some fear, doubt, and confusion. Fear of the worst. Doubt about our strategy. Confusion over how it has all unfolded.
My confusion stems from the BC NDP's strategy.
After spending the first half of their campaign firing missiles at the BC Liberals, the second half has featured them launching a full nuclear assault at the BC Green Party.
Thankfully, my NDP running mate has not (to my knowledge) participated in this barrage, but I've seen very nasty behavior in many other ridings, especially on the island.
The BC Liberals are running a classic neoconservative campaign, yelling loudly, and trying to scare people about losing their job, or having to pay more tax.
This is simple, predicable, and often effective.
The BC NDP started with a fairly predictable campaign, attacking the BC Liberals on their dismal 16-year record of corruption and slashing public services.
Then it all changed.
They started focusing more and more of their time and effort disparaging the BC Greens.
This really caught me off guard. At the beginning of the campaign, I saw our parties as both being comprised of progressive, socially-conscious people who wanted to make the world better.
All of the sudden, it seemed the only thing they were interested in was telling people lies like "A vote for the Greens is a vote for the Liberals" or "The Greens are actually Liberals" or even absurd notions like "The Greens aren't environmentally conscious."
Are you kidding me?
So the BC Green Party, led by a renowned climate scientist, and now officially endorsed by David freaking Suzuki, doesn't care about the environment?
Are you seriously serious?
I had grand visions of Green & NDP supporters fighting side by side to reduce the BC Liberals to a few measly seats, and now they're saying that if you care about the environment, then you mustn't vote for the party that makes the environment its #1 priority!
Well folks, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this strategy was a bit of a mistake.
The BC NDP took in millions of dollars of corporate and union money to build a massive war machine, packed with hordes of "paid volunteers" -- and somebody at the top decided to waste all of this might attacking a party that it could have allied with.
Forced into a defensive position, the BC Greens meanwhile had to devote rare, precious resources to trying to prove things that should should be obvious, like the fact that we care about the environment!
It all seems like a Greek tragedy, unfolding before my very eyes.
But you know what? My money is on hope.
You see, another election just finished up.
France definitively rejected fear, and chose hope.
While out campaigning, talking to real people, I felt the warmth of hope.
During advance voting, strangers came up to me, gave me a huge smile, and said very quietly, "I voted for you."
I was amazed by the feeling that gave me. They weren't scared. They saw better things coming, just around the corner.
I have absolutely no idea what results May 9th will bring in the BC Election.
The polls were wrong last time. They will be wrong this time too.
Who is going to win this age old battle? Fear, or Hope?
At this stage of the game, I'm betting it all on hope.