By PATRICK HUNTER
What I am about to comment on is painful in many respects. It's a little like "dirty linen washing in public". It's about some of the people we respect for their outspokenness and the sense of progressiveness and who fail to live up to some of the expectations we have of them.
I won't call any names, but if you recognize yourself in these descriptions, one can only hope that you amend yourself.
There are people who, for example, have made it to significant positions in the public, broader public and private sectors and who, before their ascent, led the critical positions held by their groups or organizations. Some of them get lost in the system, depending on where they are, and are rarely heard from again, once they've made it. In some cases, they realize too late that their elevation was designed to muzzle their activism. Continuing their outspokenness could be in breach of their tenure.
Let me say this: In partisan political situations, there is an expectation that members of caucus maintain a high degree of unanimity. If you oppose, for example, a position held by the majority of caucus, you are expected to hold your tongue in public, or exit caucus. If you are the member of a governing caucus that, obviously, will have an impact on a cabinet level appointment. It's called party unity and you have to be gutsy to go public.
That scenario also translates, to some degree, in other spheres. For example, I do not know what position Chief Mark Saunders held on "carding" before his appointment, but I would have been somewhat surprised had he announced that he would end carding in his first speech. He was handed a policy by the governing board to implement. He can work to change it, if he opposes it, but he has to be prepared to show why it doesn't work, after the implementation process has been put into effect.
The people I do have a gripe with are those who, having ascended, allow themselves to be manipulated, coerced or willingly betray not only the positions they once held in concert with the group which gave them prominence, but their previous comrades. And this happens all too often among us. There are some who will toe the line, others have daringly bucked it.