Political outrage for the sake of outrage is so tiring

Today as an Alberta Party communications person I had a pretty solid day. We were able to hold an opposition member to account for unethical behaviour and drove a large part of the conversation throughout both Alberta and the country on MLA expenses and double dipping. A solid win.

This evening, after having doubled down on his mistakes, MLA Derek Fildebrandt apologized, repaid his expenses, and stepped away (temporarily?) from his shadow critic role in Finance. A real accomplishment for a party of one MLA to assist in taking down a proverbial titan in what is largely perceived to be the government in waiting.

Politically speaking, an awesome day. But as a person who has friends in the UCP (for all my opposition to them, this may come as a surprise), it’s sad to see someone with promise potentially have their career decimated. But at the same time, as the party that advocates for personal responsibility, you can’t let that last too long.

As McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc once famously said “If my competitors were drowning, I’d put a garden hose in their mouth and turn on the water.”

But there’s a human side to politics, and often people that you vigorously and vehemently disagree with can be good friends over a beer. (FTR I’m not friends with D-Fib).

I was pleased with the conclusion of today’s events. But I’m also tired of people constantly being outraged.

Politicians are human and make dumb mistakes. Today was, in my view, an unethical mistake. It probably should be an illegal mistake if it isn’t already.

But the man has apologized, repaid, and stepped away. His political trajectory will be affected forever from this day out. My guess is depending on how the leadership race turns out, his days are numbered as an MLA, certainly as a potential future leader.

The non-stop outrage factories turn people off, and prevent serious work and collaboration from happening. Let’s do better and be better. Life is too short to spend it in perpetual rage. Let’s accept the win today, and move on. Sure, politics is a blood sport, but it doesn’t need to be a game of cannibalism.


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  1. Agreed Robbie. I think people disengage or don’t engage in politics because of the fear of constant attack. People are not afraid of debate but the aggressive personal attacks have affects on family, friends and the person seeking or serving.

    In the “old” days most of the consideration for running was time away from family or career. Today the first thing I discuss with potential candidates is reputation management and the ability to survive the attacks. It is very sad and I believe the biggest reason good people don’t step in.