OPINION: Sometimes it’s nice to pause and say thanks

With all the anger and frustration and division, counteracting that with gratitude helps

If the last couple of months have given us any indication it’s that candidates seeking federal election or re-election are going in guns blazing.

The divisive nature of our federally elected officials is not a surprise when one considers that extreme negative political campaigns in North and South America have found success for those running. It’s an electioneering technique that is easy to do, garners extreme attention from the media and the electorate (free advertising), and comes across as a leadership move.

What’s disheartening is that campaigners are out in full force. Using the guise of being there for the community, our current members of parliament are hijacking community events to meet their own plans.

The campaign trail will surely be a long one.

What is further disappointing with this behaviour how it’s widening the gap between political ideologies. Partisan politics is by its very nature divisive, I get it, but there is something to be said for diplomacy. Whatever course these candidates take, it will be interesting to see what the electoral thinks because these actions don’t seem to be appreciated by an educated population.

As we head into what promises to be a battle of parties in the next 10 months, one realizes that we can grapple with these candidates or we can remove ourselves from these actions and show gratitude.

This opinion piece will be the start of an ongoing series — from time to time — to offer thanks and to attempt to counteract some of the negativity that will be forcing its way into our lives.

There’s much pain out in the world; Ponoka lost a loved teacher just weeks ago, workers are facing jobless futures, people are struggling with debt and the list could go on. But there are also many wonderful things happening in our lives and in our community. As one community volunteer likes to say, “Things are awesome.” With apologies to Justin Kelly. It’s true though.

Ponoka has a dedicated group of volunteers willing to see recreation grow. We’ve got for a second winter in a row, plans for an ice skate path.

Ponoka News’ small newsroom is seeing incredible online growth while somehow managing to capture the community’s stories. That wouldn’t be possible without dedicated and involved staff members.

So to them I also offer my gratitude: to publisher Judy Dick for her continuous focus on this community. To Jordie Dwyer for pushing himself to try new things while also keeping his local writing a focal point. To salesperson Karen Douglass for adjusting to the changing times and reminding people she’s got the gift of gab. To Whitney Feragen for stepping into a new role and doing her best to learn a new industry.

Plus, a huge ‘thank you’ to our paper carriers who, despite the crazy weather patterns of central Alberta, manage to get the paper delivered. Of course a show of gratitude must go to our advertisers. We offer a free newspaper to our readers and it’s the advertisers that make this possible. And to all the others behind the scenes getting things done.

Plus, to our readers, for pushing us to be better, and also trusting us to get the stories out to the community.

To you all, I say ‘Thank you’. Thank you for working hard and for being there for this community.

We’re heading into uncharted waters politically in Alberta but that doesn’t mean we can’t take some time to show gratitude for what we do have around us. That sentiment may sound cliche but if we don’t have our gratitude and decency then we’ve lost.

Let’s remind ourselves that these political discussions, while important, should not be what define us. It’s the people and family around us and what we do as people that makes all the difference.

Happy holidays everyone and Happy New Year.

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