Careful readers will have noticed I kicked off the Campagne de Fous last week, my perennial and thus far unsuccessful run for mayor of Tiny Town. To all of you who emailed me wishing me success and pledging your support, I thank you, you poor deluded fous. You are my kind of people, a thought that should spin you into a vortex of sustained self-examination.
I like to think my Campagne is of the Big Tent variety. I discriminate against no one, notwithstanding being intolerant of intolerant people, a personal bias that admittedly gives me whiplash. To that end, I hope there are enough fous in town for me to no longer be the sole member of the Never-Ending Party. While Whistler has a long tradition of eschewing party politics, I believe it's time to for that to end. Party politics are like fat skis, and who among us still ski on noodles? Right, no one. Except maybe on Gaper Day.
It is my solemn belief the tenets of the Never-Ending Party capture the je ne sais quoi of Whistler, whatever that means. That point was dramatically driven home to me Monday evening when I attended the 2019 Community Vision Forum and brainstormed with others who live here and have nothing better to do on a Monday night.
We listened to speakers outline the history of our town, the current state of tourism, the multitude of ways in which we are degrading our environment, the glory of being a part of Vail Resorts and the hopes a local youth has for the future. And then we played with our phones... those of us who have one.
But I digress.
The resonance of the Never-Ending Party spoke to many at the tables I attended — housing and growth — when I listened to their passion for housing our increasingly aging population. Nobody, no matter how old or seemingly out of it, wants the party to end. Such is the magic of this place we call home. They're keen on housing the workerbees but, perhaps filtered through the lens of self-interest, are passionate about housing seniors whose booties shake only in memory, but who will, if they have their way, only be dragged out of here ski boots first. I applaud their determination, for I too want to die with my ski boots on and my last column unfinished. Don't ask why I write with ski boots on. It's kind of embarrassing.
And so, it's time to open up the Never-Ending Party to a broader membership than just myself. Joining isn't as easy as knocking back a few shots and chanting, "Par-tee, Par-tee, Par-tee," although that's not a bad start. There are things party members must share in common and believe in wholeheartedly, or at least pretend to. There are no dues because if we're so inclined to join, we've already paid enough dues.
If you believe as I do, you fous, this party is your party. "What's it all about?" Glad you asked.
Live the Dream — The Never-Ending Party Manifesto
Live the Dream is the slogan, the catch-phrase of the Never-Ending Party. It captures the essence of why we, all of us, are a part of Whistler. We want to live the dream, be part of the dream and make the dream both better and sustainable. While the details of the dream may be highly subjective, at its core is the very simple yet profound reality that we're all here because we've chosen to be here, even those of you who were born here and haven't run away. We've gone out of our way to be here. And choosing to be here has often come with very tangible costs: lower incomes, fewer career opportunities; a higher cost of living. To put up with all that, in the face of what's generally considered success in North American terms, this dream we're talking about must be pretty powerful.
Why Live the Dream? It captures the imagination of people and reminds us why we want to make this place a better place, why we don't want to make it just another place, similar to all those other places. It's the people who make Whistler special and we are the people!
The Never-Ending Party doesn't have a platform as such. While it may suggest licence to some, it's not meant to evoke an endless bacchanal of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll... not that there's anything wrong with that. It is meant to suggest life is a party if we choose to make it one and if we are successful in nurturing this town and shaping it into the kind of place we'd like it to be, drudgery and hopelessness has no chance to take root.
The Never-Ending Party recognizes seven organizing principles that should drive personal, political and governmental decisions.
1. Become reality driven. Don't kid yourself or others. Find out what's what and base your decisions about tomorrow's goal on today's reality, not yesterday's ideology and certainly not on the bad spending decisions of the past.
2. Always be honest and tell the truth. It's extremely difficult to do any damage to anybody when you are willing to tell the truth — regardless of the consequences.
3. Always do what's right and fair, recognizing what's right and fair is often not the most popular choice and always gores someone's ox. Remember, the more you actually accomplish, the louder your critics become. You've got to learn to hear and then ignore them. You've got to continue to do what you honestly believe is right. You've got to maintain your integrity. You will never win everybody over. Ignore Facebook!
4. Determine your goal, develop a plan to reach that goal, and then act. Don't procrastinate, don't study it to death, don't hire consultants to justify what you already know or provide you with a smokescreen to hide behind. Do it!
5. Make sure everybody who ought to know what you're doing — and why you're doing it — knows. Communicate. This means finding ways to communicate that actually work.
6. Don't hesitate to deliver bad news. There is always time to salvage things. There is always time to fix things. Anything that's likely to be revealed eventually should be revealed immediately. Better to be wrong and apologize, learn from your mistake and make it a valuable part of your toolbox than try to hide it and eventually have it blow up in your face. People forgive mistakes; they remember cover-ups.
7. Be willing to do whatever it takes to get your job done. If you've got a job that you don't love enough to do well, then quit and get one that you do love. Do that and you'll make a difference.
Join the party. Share it with others. Party on.