The week before Christmas there were people terrified of the Omicron coronavirus based on a worldwide death count of 10. There were also people who wanted to contract this weaker virus to obtain natural immunity. There were people who couldn’t wait to get the booster and feared being shamed if they didn’t do their civic duty. There were also people terrified of the vaccine based on doctors’ orders or Youtube videos based on anecdotal information.
We are witnessing a phenomenon of behaviour amidst an explosion of information. There are so many opinions that it seems to be tearing at what we once called community. It is even difficult to have conversations with neighbours. Fewer and fewer people seem willing to agree to disagree and there are far too many black and white opinions when the truth often lies within a sea of grey.
Some people who are vaccinated will not even enter the house of a family member if the family member, who is completely healthy with no signs of even the sniffles, has not been vaccinated. There are also people who will not step into the house of a completely healthy good friend because that person is vaccinated.
There are those who argue that the vaccine will kill 80 per cent of its takers in two years. And there are those who act like the virus will kill 80 per cent of the unvaccinated. Some argue the unvaccinated should suffer. Others argue the vaccinated already are. There are also those who are healthy, don’t believe they are at risk, and just want to be left alone. There are those who, because of their health concerns, want the booster and those, because of other health concerns (history of heart problems, pregnancy) don’t even want the first dose. There are those who bristle at the thought of government telling them what to inject into their bodies. There are still others who figure whatever’s good for Oprah must be good for me.
Some people say the vaccine is good because our governments say so and they have our best interests at heart. There are those who won’t take the vaccine because they believe that governments don’t. There are those who believe that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks and there are those who believe that the risks outweigh the benefits. And there are those who say they are simply following their doctors’ advice. Some doctors tell them to take the vaccine. Some tell them not to. Some tell them it’s their duty to take the vaccine to protect the elderly. Some tell them it’s their choice. Some say there are risks but they are minimal. Others say children don’t need the vaccine. One doctor told me not to listen to doctors unless the doctor is a virologist.
There are those who believe in the vaccine and forced vaccination and those who believe in the vaccine but not mandates. There are those who believe in neither. There are those who want to see the demographics on COVID deaths but are told that’s a breach of privacy. But they must show proof of vaccination to get into a restaurant because somehow that isn’t. There is also a huge segment of the population that takes strange comfort in rules and being scared and is willing to be led by the nose.
Then there are people like me who got the shot because they were told that, if they did, then everything would open up and go back to normal and the kids could go back to school and to sports. Boy, did I fall for that one, which was the last straw in the mound of government B.S. that I am willing to take. There have been too many flip-flops and unscientific government responses to this pandemic. Add in the uncritical news stories and over-the-top non sequitur Facebook posts and homemade Youtube videos and, let’s face it, no one can deflect all of the garbage from all sides. We are wading so deeply in it that many among us are no longer shocked when we now hear whopping big lies and we barely notice when our leaders are wearing no clothes.
Our governments have also had so many opinions and so little science to back them up that many of us are sick of it all and we’re tuning out. Meantime, the appeal to authority is disintegrating, as we slip ever more closely toward tribalism and away from the rule of law.
A firm 80 per cent of the people have been vaccinated and the latest strain is the equivalent of a mild flu. A child is more likely to be hit by lightning than to die from COVID. But who cares? Thank you for your co-operation and for being vaccinated but your government locked you down again. Is our province’s aim to anger, frustrate and destroy more hopes and dreams? It gets worse as our governments are trampling on people’s freedoms. And that’s not even an issue anymore. The issue is how far will they go?
Most of us have never seen anything like this in our lifetimes. We are in a very unhealthy place and it’s not because of COVID.
Patrick Meagher is editor of Farmers Forum and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org