Brian Mulroney went on to win the election as the 18th Prime Minister of Canada and I wouldn’t be surprised if John Turner still has nightmares about that debate performance. That clip gets played during every election cycle and is probably being used in every political science programme as a teachable moment.
“I didn’t have a choice.” He said ‘option’ but I like ‘choice’ for this post.Those words sounded the death knell of John Turner’s political run as Brian Mulroney went in for the kill. His response was bang on, and I feel like reacting the same way whenever I hear those words.
“I don’t have a choice.” These 5 words get under my thin skin.
Choices we make Everyday.
- To get up and go to work. We don’t want to get fired.
- To shower and brush our teeth. We don’t want to stink and have bad breath.
- To eat. We want to be healthy and have energy for the day.
- To get dressed. We want to be warm and look appropriate.
These are decisions we make without even thinking about it. They are actions that are part of our daily routine. Almost like breathing.
There are choices we make every day that do involve thought. We don’t think about eating, but we do think about what to eat. The same goes for what to wear, what hairstyle to have or even which route to take to work. The consequences of these choices are harmless, the worst possibly being mismatching your shirt and pants.
Rock meet Hard Place.
Look, I understand that when we say “I didn’t have a choice”, we are expressing the difficulty we had in coming to that decision. I do believe that in many cases, it is a copout in that we just want to believe we had only one choice. But like I tell my kids, words are important. Even if you are between a rock and a hard place, those are your choices, the rock or the hard place. Consider Sophie’s choice.
For most of us, our tough choices would be something like whether or not to stay in our dead end jobs, the rock being the job, the hard place being the loss of pay and benefits. When we consider Sophie’s choice, it really should give us pause.
Okay, so we know we have choices, some with good consequences, some with terrible consequences. I’m not here to tell you how to come to good decisions. Hopefully you have surrounded yourself with people who can help you if you need it, be it a spouse, pastor, friend, parent, whatever. Ultimately it will be your choice. Please let’s stop saying we don’t have one.
What are some of the toughest choices you’ve had to make?