I can’t unsee or unhear things I’ve seen over the past two years and, most incredibly, in the past few weeks. There are things we can’t come back from in this country and, indeed, in the world. I have never been particularly politically minded, but our leadership’s actions, overreach, and outright disdain for citizens with different perspectives than that of our current government have opened my eyes to things I wish I didn’t see, but that I need to see. That we all need to see.
The view from Parliament Hill is far different from that of Canadians who have lost their jobs, been denied employment benefits from a mandatory plan they paid into, and subsequently lost their homes and much more. It’s not the same as those who no longer trust their government because it has frozen their bank accounts because they donated to a cause they believe in. One doesn’t feel quite the same about a Prime Minister who refers to those with a different opinion than his as misogynists, racists, a “fringe minority” wearing tinfoil hats who shouldn’t be tolerated. We throw up a little in our mouths when he tells us the government has “got your back”. If we ever believed that, we sure as heck don’t any longer.
When half of the provinces in Canada have lifted, or will soon lift, mandates and “vaccine passports”, it’s hard to understand why the province you reside in has revealed no plan to do the same. We wonder if the science the top officials are listening to varies from province to province and grow confused about facts that seem to contradict the spiel we’re fed on news briefings. We want to do the right thing but grow ever more confused about what that thing is.
The slope is greased and slippery. We can’t see where it leads, but we feel ourselves slip-sliding on a trajectory toward something. We decry the rights of women to have autonomy over their bodies when it comes to pregnancy, but turn a deaf ear to those who want the same autonomy over what goes into their bodies. Oh, but it’s not the same thing, we argue—and, no, it surely isn’t.
We argue over human rights but turn a deaf ear to the introduction of “passports” that prevent parents from watching their children play hockey or a family from flying across the country to sit at the bedside of a matriarch whose remaining days are few. We don’t understand why we’re allowed to go to a crowded big box store but not to the gym; or why we have to wear a facemask to walk into a coffee shop, can remove it as soon as we sit down at a table, but have to put it on again if we have to walk to the restroom. We comply for the sake of the “collective good” but the toll taken on our mental health is heavy. The cognitive dissonance is crazy-making.
If we’re not careful, or worse, follow the example of our leaders, we’re apt to be less likely to grant grace to those in a different camp on some things or come to believe it’s just easier to stay away and fall into the trap of “us” vs “them”. Come on. We’re better than that.
Cut us and we bleed regardless of whether we’re vaccinated (single, double, boosted, or something else) or not, are so damn weary of the mandates or wish we’d hold onto them a little while longer. There’s room for all of us at the table, isn’t there? Here’s a secret I know for absolute certain. The Creator doesn’t look at the vaccinated any different than the unvaccinated. It’s more important that we keep slogging away at loving one another than judging one another for the degree to which we follow the letter of the law (read: mandate or vaccine passport).
This is starting to pinch, isn’t it? I know. It is for me too. I don’t like controversy any more than the next person but we’ve come to a place where I’m deeply, deeply concerned about the path we’re heading down. I’m tired. You’re tired. But I believe the battle is just getting started.