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There’s been a bubble of anger sitting in the pit of my stomach for a few weeks. I’m trying to ignore it because it isn’t helpful. There’s nothing I can do about the root cause of this emotion. The issue is bigger than one person, and I don’t know if there’s an easy solution.

Perhaps that sense of frustration and helplessness— topped off with emotional exhaustion— is feeding the grumbling gremlin. If there was something I could do or a solid resolution? If all the options weren’t questionable at best and tragic at worst? If only it was simply a matter of differing opinions?

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I’m afraid that it goes much deeper than ideology. This is about the core of who we are as individuals. It’s the moral code that determines our actions and guides our choices. When that’s challenged by the actions of others, especially those close to us, it triggers an intense emotional response. Fight, flight or freeze revs up, and anger is a natural byproduct. 

Without a doubt, I’m going to poke a nest full of angry wasps. There’s no middle ground. I consider myself a centrist who leans to the left, but there isn’t a neutral space. Everyone I’ve talked to has an opinion, and every single one of them has spoken passionately.

Annoyance has boiled up, and it’s been replaced by animosity. Is this who we are now? Is this what we’re becoming? My God, we really are wild animals, aren’t we?

I’m not the only one biting my lip to stop myself from saying something I can’t take back. I’m not the only one with clenched fists and jaw. Emotions are rabid, and they’re turning feral. We’re strapped to a tinder box, and the fuse has been lit.

And this probably won’t help. I should shut up, sit quietly, and watch Brit-Coms because they make me giggle. What good will any of this do? I’m adding to the discourse and pissing off one group of people. I should care more about the latter, but I can’t bring myself to do it. They’re the ones that little the bloody fuse.

Oo, that was bitter. Deep breaths through the nose, unclench the teeth and exhale through the mouth. Feel better? I’d feel better if I called them selfish motherf… No! That doesn’t help. How old are you? Name calling, seriously? It didn’t work in the first grade and won’t get you anywhere now.

But it feels good, and it would just be this one time. Okay, you’re right. Name calling doesn’t pave the way for a meaningful discussion, and that’s something we should do sometime soon. Probably? If we’re being adults about this, then yes, use the helpful words and not the grr ones.

As much as we might wanna growl? Being an adult kinda sucks. I want a pudding cup and cartoons. That’s not going to happen, so here I go, trying to be all grown up and shit. 

If you haven’t heard about the protests in Canada, then buckle up. This isn’t the half of it, but time is limited, so I’ll do much best to sum it up. A group of truckers, and other assorted individuals, gathered in Ottawa to protest the border mandates that require proof of vaccination to exit and enter Canada and the United States of America. The protest soon became about all health mandates and then became anti-government rhetoric.

It started out as a peaceful gathering for the most part. If you ignore the Nazi symbols, racist propaganda, and dancing on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier that stands in memoriam of the brave men and women who served and died for this country. Seriously? What the actual fu…

Pardon me, I need to take another cleansing break. I don’t want to use naughty no-no words. Be an adult about this. Just be a fucking adult. Whew, okay, where was I?

At the time of writing this, the protests have developed into a twenty-plus day occupation. These protestors have blockaded our borders and cost our economy hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. Businesses have had to close because they can’t get supplies or the harassment by protestors became too much.

It doesn’t make a great headline, I know. But most people are doing what’s needed and what’s right. We aren’t doing what’s easy.

Closer to home, protestors have attacked individuals wearing masks and have gone after medical professionals going to work. It got to the point where employees were being told not to wear their uniforms or IDs in public for their safety. Did that help? Nope.

I have family working at one of Vancouver’s largest hospitals, and the things that are happening to them makes my blood boil. They’ve been verbally assaulted and harassed. They had to go on lockdown after someone threatened to shoot them. What? Are you serious? These are nurses, doctors, and support staff who are saving lives. They will save yours if you need it, and this is how you act? Fuck off.

Sorry, I can’t seem to stop myself.

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In the larger story, Ontario has declared a state of emergency. For the first time in our countries history, our Prime Minister has invoked the Emergencies Act that gives the government more power. (I’m not sure how I feel about that one.) There’s been talk of the military getting involved, but no one wants that to happen. 

Despite the frustration and anger, we want a peaceful resolution. Well, most of us do, but if this keeps going, that opinion might shift. God, I hope it doesn’t shift.

I have to admit my bias here because you should know that I have skin in this game. I’ve had a kidney transplant, and the medication that keeps me alive weakens my immune system. This virus can kill me. In the last year alone, I’ve watched it steal the lives of three of my transplant friends. 

As much as I don’t like these mandates, they’re keeping me safe. At the very least, requiring masks to be worn gives me, and people like me, a fighting chance. However, as much as I believe in science and vaccines, it’s your body, and you have the right to choose what you do with it. I’ll always fight for your personal autonomy, even if I disagree with your choice.

That doesn’t mean those choices don’t come with consequences. Unfortunately, when we’re dealing with a virus like this one? You might not be the one to face those consequences. That might be something to think about?

The other day I was taking my dog for a walk. I was outside, there wasn’t anyone else around, so I had my mask hanging from my ears. One of my neighbours came around the corner and greeted me with a smile. She pointed to my mask and said joyfully, “Did you hear the news? Mask mandates will be lifted by the end of the month. You won’t have to wear that anymore.”

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For context, she’s the stereotypical white Christian woman of a certain age. Politically, we’re not even close to meeting in the middle. Ideologically, we’re as different as Star Wars and Star Trek. While we’re both people living on the same planet, we don’t experience life the same way at all.

Despite our differences, we usually have a good chat before going about our day. This time, given the climate, I braced for a bit of backlash. I tugged on my mask and shrugged my shoulder as I said, “I’ll still be wearing it.”

“But you don’t have to.” She was shocked that I wouldn’t throw the mask away once the law changed. “The mandates will be gone.”

I explained my situation to her again and then added with a tone, “I don’t need a law to tell me to be kind.” Despite our lowering numbers, we haven’t made the shift out of this pandoodle. It’s still happening. People are still vulnerable. Why wouldn’t I do this one small thing to keep you safe?

The conversation soon shifted to the convoy— it’s the only thing people are talking about— and she surprised me. She broke the mould and shattered the stereotype. Good for her! Stereotypes suck. Create your own mould.

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Her take was simple: This isn’t helping. Your opinion on mandates aside, attacking people and hurting others never brings validity to your position. It brings anger, resentment, and hate. What we need to do is talk to each other. Have these uncomfortable conversations, and work through the problem to find a solution.

And she’s right!

Earlier I said this isn’t just an ideological issue but a moral one. When it comes to these protestors? They’re all about self and fuck anyone who gets in their way. They are ME focused. MY way. MY life. Me. Me. Me.

That’s why so many of us are angry at them. Morally, most people are programmed for kindness, empathy, and compassion. We want to work together as a community to get our lives back safely, and we don’t want to lose more people. This sentiment crosses political lines, shatters the stereotypes, and comes down to people choosing goodness over selfishness.

Talking to this woman showed me that we’re not that far apart. Yes, ideologically, we’re night and day. Morally? Where it really matters? We’re in this together, and we have been from the start. We’ve all sacrificed so much, but we’ve done it with love, compassion, and decency. We’ve done it because it’s the right thing to do.

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The media likes to highlight the worst of humanity, so it’s easy to forget that most people care and want to do the right thing. We choose compassion over discomfort. Decency over hate. We aren’t willing to sacrifice the most vulnerable in our communities for any reason.

It doesn’t make a great headline, I know. But most people are doing what’s needed and what’s right. We aren’t doing what’s easy.

As for the mandates, I think it’s safe to say that no one likes them. We’ll be thrilled when they’re gone. In my province, some of the restrictions will be lifted soon. Our numbers are rapidly improving, and our vaccination rate is high.

We’re seeing positive signs that we’re moving in the right direction.

As a country, we need to talk about the future. We have to figure out where we’re going and how to get there. These are important topics that have to be addressed. When and how we move from pandemic to endemic needs to be figured out. Not by protestors, blog writers, keyboard warriors or even politicians.

Smart people are working very hard to get us out of this situation. They’re trying to do it without sacrificing lives. And, selfishly, since it’s my life that would be sacrificed? Yeah, I’m okay giving them time to get it right. I’m okay with that damn mask over my face. I’ll do whatever it takes to avoid seeing one more friend laid to rest.

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