Doug Elniski: now just another walled off politician?
Did MLA Doug Elniski do something dumb? Yes. Was posting his thoughts online the mistake? No.
This is what makes social media such a powerful tool when it comes to politics: you get a chance to see inside the mind of our leaders and what makes them tick. And as you can imagine, when you get a chance to look inside someone’s mind you might not always like what you see.
The alternative to this is what we have been doing for generations. In that example, we elect someone without really knowing much about them and then either approve of what they do on our behalf or become belligerent and shocked when a massive scandal blows up.
I would argue social media like Twitter and Facebook allow us to get an inside perspective of what our elected officials do and think and that is a good thing. If they are corrupt or disengaged, status updates may give a peek at that attitude. If they don’t? Well they were just lying to us anyway so we’re no worse off then we were before.
Personally, I don’t agree with Doug’s comments. When I first read his tweets at the Edmonton Pride Parade I thought to myself, “Gee, I don’t think those are appropriate comments to say out loud.” And when I read what he said at a grade 9 graduation I thought, “That does not seem appropriate at all.” But you know what? He has a right to think and say those things. Just like we have a right to judge him based on what he said.
I would much rather an elected leader show me their true face and let me decide what to do with that information, than live a lie and pretend to be something they are not.
Where I really became disappointed with Doug was with his reaction to the controversy created by his remarks on his blog. Rather than apologizing on his blog and trying to help us understand why he made the remarks and what he is doing/going through in getting past them, he simply deleted the blog all together.
And in doing so left us all to wonder what is going on in his head and became just another walled off politician. And that is our loss.