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My Short-Lived Political Career

When I first joined my Canadian political party in 1986, I had no intention of being just a lowly card-carrying party member, only voting in the odd internal election and donating a little money. I wanted to be an elected politician someday. So I jumped into the political action behind the scenes—as much as my business would let me.

I gave myself the job of attending a town hall meeting that an opposing politician was hosting. I was going to embarrass this man with a little speech and a well-crafted question. All the words were memorized and rehearsed in my mind. I was going to be on the national news!

When my turn at the microphone came up, I saw about 100 people turning to look at me. And two TV cameras cast their glaring lights into my eyes. I could only stammer with disjointed verbiage, with lots of um’s, ah’s, and big pauses. I sat down. The politician answered my question. But I could not hear his answer because so much blood was being circulated in my brain. I could hear only my heartbeat.

Right after that episode, I knew I needed some public speaking training if I were to be a politician. I found a Toastmasters club in the next few days.

I took Toastmasters seriously. I jumped at every chance to get the podium. I was getting better at public speaking. But while I was watching the lifestyle of the politicians in my political workings, I was having doubts about being an elected politician.

One evening, I was attending a non-political function of about 150 people. After our supper, our local Member of Parliament showed up. He was busy shaking hands and moving from table to table. It wasn’t even election year. He finally came to our table. He tactfully dealt with requests to increase the budget for health care and education while decreasing our taxes. He told us that he had come from an event similar to this one and was going to another one after he left us. I thought, “Doesn’t this guy ever sit in front of the TV and watch the hockey game?”

That night, I realized that the elected political lifestyle was not for me. I’m just not that good of a "people person." But I thought I would stay in politics and help “good” people get elected into public office. That would be my contribution to making the world a better place. And that was my political aim for the next five years. But no spotlights would ever be on Dave.

I continued with Toastmasters. My public speaking skills improved, but nowhere would they wow the crowds and media. I’m also a little too slow of a thinker—good answers do not come to me seconds after a question is fired at me. Maybe just call me “wooden” to get the picture of my political attributes.

I am not electable by any standards of western democracy.

So I had one year believing I could be an elected politician and five years content being behind the scenes. But at the end of this six-year time in politics, I came to the realizations that internal party politics itself was dysfunctional. I could not change things. I quit politics in 1992.

I started putting the pieces of the Tiered Democratic Governance (TDG) together in 1997. It’s been a lonely, fruitless journey. If there was a recognized thinker teaching the world something similar, I think I could let the TDG go, and let that thinker take all the credit. But there is no one else that I can see. I have to soldier on.

Would I be elected into the TDG? That’s a good question.

I live in a condominium complex of 59 townhouse units in Brooks, Alberta. This complex should constitute a natural TDG neighborhood.

Unfortunately, we are not as friendly as we should be. I think I have five neighbors that I can have a lengthy chat with outside in our parking lot. But we don’t socialize much; I have seldom seen the inside of my neighbors’ homes. Maybe another 10 neighbors I could name and exchange outside pleasantries. Would they vote for me? Maybe. I can see them voting for someone else.

The north half of our complex is more social. During COVID lockdowns, they were gathering in their street, lawn chairs two meters apart and everyone masked up. I think our neighborhood representative would come from the north half. Most of the condo’s board of directors come from there. Not burdened by young families, they have time and energy for more civic affairs. If one of the condo’s directors gets elected, I would say that is a good thing. They can bring their experience from our condo governance into the Brooks TDG.

My conclusion is that the inventor of the TDG is not likely to be elected into the TDG.

That just might be a good thing! 

Published on Medium 2021

The TDG in my Home Town

Life in a Political Party