Readers of this website won't be surprised at all to learn that I have an interest in politics and in how our country, province and city develop in the future. However, besides being willing to express my opinion, I have always been leery about getting actually involved in any concrete way. This week I changed that.
Part of the problem with volunteering for a political party was the aspect of having to align yourself with an entire platform. For example, in this year's provincial election I feel that the Ontario Liberals have the best platform. However, "best" is a long way from "perfect". If it was the Andrew Spicer Party instead of the Liberal party, I would have probably changed several things. I never figured out how to get around this sort of perfectionist thinking that prevented me from ever volunteering for a candidate before.
Anyway, this past Friday I did something new. I volunteered to help elect David Miller as the next mayor of Toronto.
I have recently expressed some of the reasons that I think David Miller would make a great mayor -- a better one than any of the other candidates. I'll probably write more in the future. The bottom line is that I feel passionately* about what we can do to build better, healthier, stronger, more-successful communities. I think that David Miller feels the same way, and has a similar vision about how to get there.
For one thing, we're both fans of Jane Jacobs. She's famous for her urban planning books, like The Death and Life of Great American Cities, however I feel that her thinking on economics is just as important, if not more so. In books like The Economy of Cities and The Nature of Economies she explains how the diversity and opportunity inherent in healthy urban centres is the prime creative force behind innovation and economic evolution.
When Jacobs' urban planning and economics thinking are synthesized, I think the combined idea can be expressed something like this:
Anyway, after meeting some people at a Miller volunteers' party on Friday, I spent this afternoon participating in the Hispanic Day Parade. We assembled at Jane & Finch, and were part of the parade as it slowly made its way down to Downsview Arena at Jane & Wilson. There were many floats representing different countries in Latin America that have populations here in Toronto. I didn't even know that upper Jane had a large Hispanic community. I wish I had more opportunity to actually check out some of the floats, but at least I did eventually get to enjoy some Ecuadorian food after we crossed the finish line.
David was a VIP in the parade and we were walking behind carrying banners and handing out the campaign literature. It was fun, and I'm glad I did it. There were times I felt a bit strange with this sudden change in my life, but mainly I was excited about our campaign's prospects for success. I think we've got the right policy and the right candidate.
I'll be volunteering more. If any reader wants to help out -- with their time, their wallet, or by putting up a lawn or balcony sign -- they can contact the campaign office, or email me to talk about it.
DISCLAIMER: The words in this article and in all postings on this website are my own. They do not necessarily represent the views of David Miller or his campaign.
* -- This is an inside joke for anyone who ever attended a Fast Company Company of Friends meeting. I'm not "passionate" about developing my portal strategy, or anything similar. But, one thing I do care about is how we develop our community.
POSTSCRIPT: Forgot to mention one of the unusual things that occurred during the parade. Mr. and Mrs. Mel Lastman happened to be driving by and stopped to say hello. David Miller didn't notice right away, but I was sure surprised when I looked over and recognized His Melness.