2/10/2006

My Opinion on Garth's Opinion

Today I happened to read Garth Turner's blog. In particular, I read his opinion on Harper's choice of Emerson and the subsequent fallout from what he said on his blog.
To be frank, I was surprised at what I read. While I certainly understand and appreciate Mr. Turner's frustrations surrounding the Emerson debacle, I am not so certain I agree with his venting on his blog. It struck me as behaviour unbecoming to a politician. Eventhough he was right, what he had to say lacked wisdom, tact and maturity.
Now, I vent all the time. I whine about whatever issue strikes my fancy and occasionally something good makes its way into my posts. However, I am no one. I don't work for the government. I don't represent a group of people in government. I don't have to care about what people think about my views and I don't have to be tactful or worry about offending people (eventhough I probably should).
Mr. Turner does not have this luxury.
He is now in the public eye all the time.
Allow me to provide you with an illustration. Roughly around the time I got married, I was having some significant problems where I worked. I won't go into all the gory details, but eventually things degenerated to the point where I had to quit. One day, to vent my frustrations, I decided to blog about the issues I was having. I covered up my hurt with humor and just went to town on some of the people I didn't like.
Then my husband happened to read it. He made the rather wise observation that eventhough I had used no names, if someone that I worked with were to read it, it could make my problems at work even worse. Better to come home and vent to him in private.
What Mr. Turner has done on his blog is similar. He vented, forgetting that the people that he works with can easily read his blog any time they like. This can make (and I would daresay has already made) for unnecessarily awkward situations in the workplace. To make matters worse, Mr. Turner works for the government. As I said, he is in the public eye. He is supposed to be able to bring the concerns of his constituents to the table. By making a bad situation worse, he may have shut out not only himself but all of his constituents from the political process. It's not right, it's not best, but it may happen.
Sometimes, no matter how bad a situation may be, no matter how strong your opinions are on a subject, it is wiser to say nothing outloud. It is better to go home and vent in private to your spouse. If you cannot do that, at least go to an anonymous place like iworkwithfools.com and vent undercover where no one knows who you are.
There is a certain wisdom to keeping your mouth shut in the face of a difficult situation. Being right is not always best. Sometimes it is better to take the hurt and simply move on. When you are an opinionated like me, it can be hard to keep your mouth closed. However, it is a skill that I think everyone should have and one that I am trying to develop. Maybe I'll have it down to a fine art by the time I hit 70.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree - it is not hypocritical to save disagreements for caucus meetings - it is just smart politics.
I remember Garth being adamantly against the GST, until he got a cabinet seat. Then it was the greatest thing since patronage. The guy should just suck it up and get to work on real issues.

Canadi-anna said...

The pity-me attitude doesn't belong in politics.
Garth's self-serving martyr act doesn't benefit his party or his consituents.
Grown ups learn that you can disagree without impugning the integrity and character of the people with whom you disagree.
Garth has clearly questioned the ethics and integrity of his party leader in a situation where Stephen Harper has not acted illegally, immorally or indescriminately.
Why is Emerson's loyalty to the Liberals and the constituents of Vancouver Kingsway more important to Garth than his own loyalty to the Conservative Party and the constituents of Halton.
Serving with integrity and standing up for your principles doesn't mean you have to bring your dirty laundry out in public.
Garth should have taken whatever reprimand he got like an adult. Instead, he's proved he's not a team player.
No one said he couldn't have an opinion, or that he shouldn't express it. But he should have been more measured in every aspect of his conduct.

eugene plawiuk said...

So I guess representing your constiuents interests is secondary to the party affiliation, to caucus solidarity, etc. Gee I thought youse guys supported Free Votes...that would mean Free Thought Free Expression...or was that just the old Reform Alliance....oh yeah they also ran on the platform of the constiuents come first. It seems to me you can't have it both ways. Emerson betrayed his constiuents, Turner is speaking for his.
All of a sudden all you Tories are smitten with Stalinism...Follow the Great Leader or else.

Ruth said...

Eugene, I definitely did not say anything like what you are implying. Please go back and read my post again. Also read my posts on Emerson. Note that I have said already that I am against what happened. If you think I am blindly partisan, you are grotesquely mistaken.
Turner did speak for his constituents. He did it at the caucus meeting. He then should have left it at that, instead of bemoaning his new-found "poor me" status.
Bad things happen at work. Your blog is not the place to whine about them. The people you work with will see it, it's inevitable, and this will make for a more uncomfortable time than is necessary.

Ti-Guy said...

Bad things happen at work? This isn't a job at Wal-Mart. We, the voters, put these people in their positions, pay their salaries and decide when they're done. We're the ones they work for. We have a right to know what they're up to.

Peter Thurley said...

Ah Eugene! good to see you here! this should be fun! ;)

Ruth, there might be great wisdom in keeeping your mouth shut at certain times and in certain places. Perhaps it may have been politically wiser for him to have shut up and spoken in caucus as opposed to on his blog. but I just can't help but think that when something immoral happens, people are supposed to comment on it, even in the face of repurcussions from their employer. If i felt my employer was mistreating another employee, I would go thrrough the proper channels to ensure that my employer was punished for his misdeeds. Or is my employer, while vovally stating that he does not show favoritism to anyone promots his own son to a VP position, even though there are more qualified applicants, then I am morally required to sya something.

It as certainly bad politics to air his disapproval. But to my mind, he was standing up for what is right - he was taking the double talk and the lying lips of his employer to task. Ultimately Garth is accountable to his constituents. If, as you say, he shuts them off from influence in the government, it may be counted as an unwise move. But convential wisdom sometimes flies in the face of standing up for what is right. Mr. Turner is in a position of authority. God put him there "as an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer" (Rom 13:4) It would appear that the wrong doer in this case is Stephen Harper. Let Mr. turner do his job.

Ruth said...

There seems to be some confusion. At no point have I said Turner should not air his concerns in caucus. He SHOULD air his concerns there. That is not only right, but appropriate.
What is neither right nor appropriate is his subsequent venting on his blog when his concerns were dismissed. He should have found another means of venting

Anonymous said...

Turner fanning the flames of a Liberal/Dipper fire does his party and therefore his constituents little good. He is advocating for the "Vote the Party Line" platform and Emerson is acting like the people that voted for him voted for him to do a job.

His job will be best accomplished by the move to Cabinet in the Conservatives. The liberals are leaderless and in disarray. Why wouldn't he move to a position to better serve his constituents?

I think that Garth is one of those folks that can't stay away from a mike or a blog. Anything that allows him to broadcast HIS views. And he'll wonder why he's in do-do for fanning these flames too.

Bet'ya he doesn't insist on a by-election to sit as an independant.
Pat

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