10 Reasons I’m Supporting @ryanMeili for #skndpldr – #5 – He Makes Politics Fun


One of Ryan’s volunteers has worked on numerous campaigns at all levels of government over the past twenty-five years.  And one day, she happily told a few of us that she’s never had so much fun working on a campaign in her life!

I’ve only worked on a few but I had to agree – like that old saying goes, “It’s not work if it feels like fun” and that’s one of the things that’s made this campaign such a pleasure to be involved with.

Now, in many ways, “fun” isn’t a word you associate with politics.  Politics is serious business.  Anything done with humour risks offending someone.  So politicians quickly learn to avoid taking any risks where humour is involved – jokes are bland, photo ops are staged, the political personality becomes a soft-focus version of the real person underneath.

But Ryan’s personality is a naturally fun one and it can’t help but shine through – whether he’s spontaneously “skiing” down a huge snow bank during a team meeting in Craik, choosing to break-dance during a leadership dance-off, turning a pirouette outside a supporter’s home or picking up a guitar and joining in for a song or two with whichever local band is providing the entertainment in fundraisers across the province.   (And speaking of fun, his fundraisers truly are FUNdraisers – whether they feature a single high-energy Chilean band or a mix of music, comedy, slam poetry.  Indeed, these events have been some of the most enjoyable political fundraisers I’ve attended in my life!)

There are numerous examples of how Ryan makes politics fun for others as well.

It started early with his tongue-in-(bearded)-cheek response to the “controversy” over his decision to keep his beard  and has continued through the dozen or so debates where Ryan is regularly making jokes, humourous observations and ad-libbed quips (I remember his response about wind energy being a “wind-win situation” for the province in the first Regina debate.)

The other candidates make jokes too but I see a clear division between the two MLA’s and the two non-MLA’s in even how willing they are to make a joke – which is a shame as humour is a great vehicle for getting people to warm to you and listen to what more serious message you have to share.  I think of the start of his TEDxRegina talk where before he begins his presentation, Ryan jokes about being a former politician so it’s gratifying to see an X by his name, even if it’s just the logo for the TEDx conference!

Ryan’s beard has become an unlikely symbol of his fun spirit since that first early blog post.  For example, both Trent and later, Cam, had Twibbon badges that their supporters could add to their Twitter and Facebook profiles to show their support.  But Ryan’s team took the idea one step further with a Twibbon which allowed supporters to not only add a Ryan badge to their profile pics but also an adjustable beard that was soon displayed by dozens of supporters – not just men but women, children and even a few celebrities!

On a related note, the sense of fun is also shown by Ryan’s online team’s willingness to use humourous memes to share his message – from using an image of RuPaul to promote a message that “It’s raining memberships!” as the deadline approached to the use of the popular “FTW!” meme supporters are encouraged to use after voting for Ryan.  (For the plugged-in online crowd, this means “For the Win” although this is also a bit of a risque choice given the more traditional offline definition for those letters!) 😉

If Ryan wins, he won’t lose any of the characteristics that got him that victory – his intelligence, his experience, his compassion.  But more than anything, I hope he keeps the one characteristic a successful politician often *does* lose – his sense of humour – as that’s so much a part of who he is and what makes him an appealing Leader.   

No kidding.

Next – #4 – He Turns It Up To 10!

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