Years ago during a job interview I was asked who inspires me. I was 16 years old and answered “Martin Luther King Jr.” When the sandwich shop owner asked me why, I told him that King stood up for what he believed in and wasn’t afraid to do so, even though he knew people wouldn’t agree with him.
Later I was talking to my friends about the interview and they told me I had made a mistake and should have said my mother inspired me. I got the job anyway.
I have always loved hearing people’s life stories. I guess that’s why I ended up becoming a journalist.
I never pass up the opportunity to read a memoir or watch a documentary on someone’s life. My favourite part of the job is going to someone’s house and listening to them talk about the successes and challenges in their life.
There are people whose lives have inspired me from afar, such as the innovative Henry Ford and fearless interview crafter Barbara Walters. There are people within the community I live and work in who inspire me as well.
When I woke up to the news of Jack Layton’s passing on Monday morning, I was deeply saddened. It felt rather symbolic that it was pouring rain, after numerous days of hot sun.
When I listened to Layton address the nation in his speeches, I admired his dedication to his cause, and his optimism.
It was his attitude that I admired. Even in his last letter to the people, that was very evident.
“My friends, 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,” he wrote.
When I was covering the federal election back in May, I got goosebumps watching the NDP take 58 seats in Quebec. When the party became the Official Opposition, I felt so proud for the NDP and Layton. I knew I was witnessing history in the making.
I was covering a Liberal candidate and couldn’t help but clap to the TV screen when I watched the numbers come in.
For many years I have heard people talk about how the NDP would never reach that status, but it did. Layton believed it and I am so happy he was able to see his party make such an accomplishment before he passed away.
Whether we choose to vote for the NDP or not, Layton’s dedication can be admired by all.
I love watching passionate people work in their fields. I find it inspiring to see people with such drive and dedication. When I see someone who is successful, devoted and well-liked, I look at their strengths and qualities and hope to find that in myself.
In learning about Layton’s political career and hearing he made his start as a city councillor, I began to think about the dozens of councillors in Greater Victoria. That got me thinking about what amazing things they might achieve one day, not to mention the things they already have accomplished.
In November we will re-elect some councillors and give others a new start in municipal politics.
As part of my job I go to council meetings and watch mayors and councillors in action. I have been able to learn a lot about politics, procedure and process.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Even when politicians have a desire to make things better, it often takes a long time.
When I see councillors making decisions and voting on matters, I always admire those who make their decisions based on what the community has told them it wants, as opposed to the individual opinion of the councillor.
For his years of service to his community and nation, Layton will be remembered. Maybe it’s time we look at our local politicians and appreciate their passion, drive and optimism before it’s too late.
Charla Huber is a reporter with the Goldstream News Gazette.