“You can’t let the fear of dying interfere with the excitement of living”–JC
I didn’t know the man. I had never seen him or talked to him or met him and yet I respected him. Of course I’m not alone here but I suspect my respect for him is based on something quite different than many.
Jim Flaherty was 5’3″ tall but cast a huge shadow as a human being and as a man. And he was an Irishman. On another day I would have something smart to say about that but today I think it’s enough to say that his heritage had something to do with why people enjoyed being around him and admired him. Many found him stubborn (in a positive way), intelligent, well spoken and when he talked apparently it was difficult not to listen. Most of those who did know him well have said that he was thoughtful to those around him, always had a good word for those he met, was straight forward without being aggressive, knew what he wanted and dedicated himself to getting it. He was a man of conviction in that he believed that he was always acting in the best interests of this country–a country, I might add, that he loved almost as much as he loved his family. He sacrificed much to serve and when it came time to put it all on the line for his country during the recession he did so with little reservation. As the man who controlled the purse strings history will recognize his great clarity of reason and thought when others wanted to procrastinate or go with which way the political winds were blowing.
I did not care for his political views much of the time but he was, in my mind, a great politician. He demonstrated to us what we have a right to expect from our elected officials. Among those attributes would be class and integrity. Again in short supply right across the board and from the very top to the bottom in my view. Unfortunately few paid much attention to how Mr. Flaherty carried himself. Many were too busy getting caught with their hands submerged in the public purse to learn the basics of what political life should be about.
Having said all that my question to Mr. Flaherty would have been this: “Sheamus–When you look at your life and celebrate what you managed to contribute to making this a better place for all of us, are you content–are you indeed pleased with what you are leaving behind. In other words are you pleased to take stock and accept that you are leaving Canada and your family in a better place than when you first entered it?”
By all accounts ‘Sheamus’ James Flaherty was a great politician and a good man. It’s the ‘good man’ part that interests me the most because that is an assessment that we really don’t have any say in. We do what we do because of who we are. Most men that I know would say that their main goal in this life would be to leave it a better place and to be remembered by their peers and their families as being a good man–one who will be missed and one who will be valued not by his possessions but rather by who he was and what he did–his legacy–his mark. I believe that he was successful.
My hope is that Mr. Flaherty had a chance to understand this before he left us.
May the Good Lord bless him on his journey–Jim
That’s how I see it, anyway