Jack Layton (1950-2011)

Twenty-four hours ago, I learned that Jack Layton had died. It was a shock. Still is. Since he became the leader, he has been an inspiring figure for me with his commitment to social justice, democracy and optimism. His belief in making the world a better place made me feel as though my same belief was not so crazy. It’s very easy to get distracted and discouraged, and it is a testament to the person he was that he never did get distracted or discouraged. His letter has been quoted so much in the last day, but his final message bears repeating: “…love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

Yesterday I wore my Jack Layton button from a past campaign. The little holes it has left in my shirt near my heart seem like a fitting metaphor.