From my perspective the two human emotions that are the most damaging to an individual, to others around them, and society at large are hate and anger.
The release of information that in less than three years, Premier Rachel Notley has received 11 death threats and endured 412 hate incidents, some so vile that they are ‘X’ rated, is truly disturbing. Most are cowardly threats on social media depicting photos and posts to encourage violence against the Premier.
In the Premier’s case it’s two-fold. It’s misogynistic, suffered by all women in politics including Rona Ambrose and Michelle Rempel of the Conservative Party, where unsuccessful men resent powerful women.
But for Premier Notley, it is even more vicious because she represents the New Democrat Party. A party vilified by many nationalists and far right wing supporters.
Notley’s situation closely parallels the attitudes of white nationalists and Tea Party members in the American Republican Party who not only hate Democrats but hate the people who represent them.
Their anger was ferocious when a ‘black’ Democratic President was elected and Russia’s Putin became their instant hero when his misinformation helped defeat the ‘woman’ candidate for President.
Anger and hatred make us do very irrational and often dangerous things.
A couple years ago, a very fine educated woman in conversation repeatedly and angrily said, “I hate David Suzuki”! The concern coming from that conversation still resonates with me.
Why does an intelligent person become so angry about someone’s views to turn to intense hatred of a person?
I can understand and fully support someone who hates the actions of people who are destroying human rights or killing other humans for personal power, but because someone’s an environmentalist!
Personally I’m always amused, as a creationist, that very intelligent scientific people can believe this amazing complex and integral world just banged into existence. But, alas, that doesn’t take away from Suzuki or the work of the scientific community who have done an amazing job of discovering, understanding and most critically today, offering solutions to curtail global warming.
Sure Suzuki has flaws and if you’ve ever heard him speak to a live audience, his arrogance knows no bounds, but that isn’t a valid reason for hate!
I bring the Suzuki story into the Premier Notley story because it shows how easily good people turn to hatred merely because of someone’s different religion, ideology, physical attributes or jealousy. It is so easy to forget that Suzuki has a wife, children and grandchildren.
As a student of Alberta Premiers, I would argue Rachel Notley is one of the four most honourable and skilled individuals to ever occupy the Premier’s chair. Raised in the Peace Country, receiving her post-secondary education in Edmonton, her career has always focused on improving the lives of others. Personal enrichment has never been top of her list.
In 2010 she filed so few expense claims that her total compensation was $129,857, the second lowest of any MLA.
When her two children were young, she worked part-time in order to spend more time mothering. She is a fine human being, which should mean more to us when electing a leader than personal greed or religious piety.
The truth in this world of fake news is a person who hates Rachel Notley so much as to encourage violence against her has let irrational anger and hatred skew their moral compass.
Ask yourself? Is ideology really worth promoting the killing of a mother and wife?
B. P. Schimke