Last week I wrote about the galling and tone deaf move that came from the city council in Victoria, British Columbia on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasions. The moves by councillor Ben Isitt just blew my mind, not just because of what he did, but because he doubled-down on it and started with wild smears all over the place. It was shameful, but sadly the kind of thing we’ve seen before from people can never accept, let alone admit, their mistakes.
So it was with interests that I came across an update on this story in my Twitter feed today. Yesterday the Victoria City Council sat and we saw some developments on Mr. Isitt’s motion:
CHEK News out of Victoria goes into the details of what happened, but it seems that the majority of councillors came to their collective senses. Mayor Lisa Helps made a point of apologizing to everyone for what happened, the kind of thing that a true political leader does, despite the fact that she was in the right at the very beginning when she voted against Isitt’s motion. But that’s where the humility and “learning of lessons” seems to have stopped, as Mr. Isitt couldn’t let this moment pass without throwing more ugly elbows around:
The councillor at the centre of the firestorm used the opportunity to attack what he calls the “toxic political culture encouraged by some corporate media organizations and conservative political organizations.”https://www.cheknews.ca/a-contrite-victoria-council-backs-away-from-plan-to-ask-military-to-foot-bill-for-policing-events-such-as-remembrance-day-569249/?fbclid=IwAR0vlHcPr7KrOMY_Jj7x8KWV9sIBFmdlBoCsqRo2T64HvTsuMxEqm5lJER0
“To be frank, I think this agenda is dangerous and undermines our democratic institutions,” said Ben Isitt.
“It distorts city council’s deliberations in order to stir up emotional reactions.”
Christ councillor, stop it. Stop it. STOP IT!!!! You were wrong, you admitted as much in that very same statement. There is no true apology that means a damn thing that involved qualifying it and adding a tone of “yeah but” statements. Stop digging your own hole!!!
Elected people like this seriously bother me, and I have no problem saying that “progressive” politicians like Mr. Isitt do far more damage to advancing progressive values and ideas than help. He seriously doesn’t get it, or refuses to accept, that not only conservative-minded people were and are offended by the very idea that he put out there. There are thousands and thousands of progressive and non-conservative people out there who either served in the military or have family that are veterans. We love and respect their service to our country and those sentiments don’t have a partisan colour or attachment to it.
To try to paint the reaction of outrage to his terrible motion as something ginned up by “corporate media and conservative political organizations” is beyond insulting to we progressives who were offended by his original idea. By doing this, he’s trying to smear those of us who are insulted by his words as some kind of political enemy, somehow as “the other”. That kind of language from him is ugly, divisive, beneath the dignity of the office that he was elected to and only serves to undermine progressive politicians and ideas overall.
Mr. Isitt seriously doesn’t get it. I’m going to leave it to the words of veteran Keith Rosenberg, who spoke at this city council meeting. He said the following words, words that highlight the bigger point that Mr. Isitt is ignorant to:
The motion is an incredible injustice to the men and women that risked their all for Canadian values and freedoms, and should now have to stand before their council to remind them of the concept of duty before selfhttps://www.cheknews.ca/a-contrite-victoria-council-backs-away-from-plan-to-ask-military-to-foot-bill-for-policing-events-such-as-remembrance-day-569249/?fbclid=IwAR0vlHcPr7KrOMY_Jj7x8KWV9sIBFmdlBoCsqRo2T64HvTsuMxEqm5lJER0
The concept of duty before self. The concept of sacrifice. The concept of putting others above oneself for the greater good. These are ideas that Mr. Isitt has proved, through his words and actions, he clearly doesn’t understand at all. It’s clear through his past history and his words in this whole episode, that his most important concern is himself and his own views. To Hell with the thoughts and views of others, those must be secondary to his own and his own ego. Someone who understood these concepts that Mr. Rosenberg spoke to would have done what I suggested a week ago; withdraw the motion and apologize unequivocally. He didn’t do any of that, and that does speak volumes about him.
People like Mr. Isitt who get elected as progressives are exactly the kind of people who cause trouble for progressive causes and values. Their self interest and inability to put that aside for the greater good holds us back and hurts us. When I saw that we progressives need to be self-critical and look at ourselves to see how we can be better, this is exactly what I’m talking about. Progressives movements are not perfect and we all have room for improvement. Every episode like this from a self-absorbed individual takes away from the chance to talk about things that we truly want to advance. Mr. Isitt can try to blame the media and conservatives for their attention to this, but it was his lack of self-awareness that brought this bad motion forward, and it was his lack of humility and refusal to give a proper apology that gave it more oxygen. I pray that he learns from this and does better from now on, but I private hoped for the same last week and look at what happened yesterday. If Mr. Isitt isn’t going to learn from this, I hope that other progressives learn from this episode and take proper heed of the lesson here.