Editor’s Note: As part of a recent experiment on a new way to experience Generative Journalism, a small media-makers’ circle posed generative questions of each other. Part of the exchange focused on new possibilities opening out from the federal election. This portion of the dialogue features a question posed by circle member Bill Templeman to Peter Pula.
Bill: What gifts, singular or plural, does the recent federal election bring to our Peterborough community in terms of openings for dialogues between people don’t normally exchange meaningfully with each other but may need to, or even want to?
Peter: The first gift would be in the person of Maryam Monsef, because I have seen her hold space and be open to dialogue and asset-based approaches to economy and community.
I believe she is drawn to a different kind of dialogue. It would be a great gift to the community if she used her new position and power to get attention, to draw attention to places where people can have these conversations, possibly even host these conversations.
“(T)his new energy of hope combined with new approaches to dialogue can actually start to shift community action…”
— Peter Pula
I have the sense that she has the right spirit of openness to actually be able to be a generative sponsor and possibly even host of those conversations.
Another gift would be the gift of change just might open people up.
I suppose there is a possible sense of hope that could be used to enliven and draw people into conversations.
Bill: Is there anything to unbundle in your phrase, “Open people up to”? Open them up to what?
Peter: I get the sense that Maryam is the kind of person who, even though she has to hold the line while she’s running for office, that she’s sneaky enough to actually be able to sit in a room with community members and be receptive and not always having to be pushing or selling or driving. I think she has a spirit of co-operation and I also believe from what I can gather she has the capacity to hold different points of view, and to trust the community to come to their own conclusions.
As for hope opened up by the recent election two possibilities come to mind. The one that worries me is that there is a big collective sense of, “We know that Justin can fix everything for us; so now we can relax.” If that leads us all back to a false sense of someone else is taking care of us, so we don’t have to, then we’ve committed a crime against citizenship.
The other possibility is that this new energy of hope combined with new approaches to dialogue can actually start to shift community action into a place where somebody like Maryam can remind us that we have power as citizens. And now that that we’ve exercised the act of giving our power to others who will go represent us upstairs, that we still have work to do to exercise our own power at home.