Commentary, Featured, PHCE Now, Philosophy, Society, Technology

Dear Coronavirus Deniers:

Welcome to the New World Order, folks. In my lifetime, almost a quarter of a century, thank you very much, I don’t think I’ve seen anything afffect the entire world for the worst like this. Not even the rise of the Facebook or Google engines. The only thing I could think to compare it to is a World War. Deadly, but more insidious in its seeming innocuousness. People facing wars and violence today can see bombs and debris and things blowing up and people getting ripped apart. It invades all of your senses and it’s very difficult to deny that it’s happening, that it’s devastating, and that only cooperation will help make it stop. You shut your lights out during blackouts because sure, you might want to read the latest YA novel, but you know you’ll be making a huge target not only of yourself, but of your neighbours around you who are actually listening to the government recommendations. While there was controversy over how to handle the crisis, it was undeniable that something needed to be done – you couldn’t just continue to live your life as though nothing had happened. If you did, you would be putting yourself, your family, and those around you at risk. And maybe you didn’t care. Either way, people still end up dead.

I can just imagine what people during those wars, and the ones going on right now, might say on social media. “The Black Death killed more people than this war, what’s the big deal? This war is only killing two or three percent of us – it’s not that bad! The government can’t tell me to go into an air raid shelter, or to avoid travelling, or get gas masks for my children, or give up my metal goods! Ba humbug!”

Now again, I, in my privileged position as a millennial (or Gen Z, depending on who you ask) Canadian, cannot know what it’s like to live through such things. But I do know what it’s like to witness ignorance, and the point going right over people’s heads, and to have callousness and superiority passed off as “free will.” In a way, I empathize with the deniers on my feed, and people I see in the media insisting that this crisis is really no big deal. The government should not have the power to tell us what to do, we should be able to live our lives the way we want, no matter what, full stop.

Let’s come up with a list of all the rationalizations that you’ve heard people use to justify ignoring or in some cases outright intentionally spreading the Coronavirus!

  1. It’s less deadly than the flu
  2. It’s less deadly than car-crashes – why don’t we just ban cars and everything else too?
  3. If we all just live normally, we will develop herd immunity
  4. Masks don’t work, social distancing doesn’t work, and vaccines … just don’t even
  5. If we just wash our hands and wipe things down like normal, we will be fine
  6. Standing on a social distancing sticker won’t save me
  7. The government is not there to tell us what to do – we the people tell the government what to do!
  8. We’re all going to die anyway, so who cares
  9. We’ve had other pandemics in the past, and the world didn’t shut down before
  10. If we pretend like it doesn’t exist, it doesn’t!

I don’t know man, just writing those ten has made me exhausted. Selfish, ignorant people just make me feel so tired. I’m usually a non-confrontational person (hence the passive-aggressive blogging right now) but here’s what I wish I could say.

There will always be something worse than what you’re going through right now. Be thankful it’s not worse, but that doesn’t mean that actions shouldn’t be taken to make things better.

And just because one action is right in one circumstance, doesn’t mean it will be right in another. Yes, I personally would like to see cars banned so I don’t feel left out for not owning one, but let’s not kill a spider with an H-bomb, guys.

And yes, once two percent of our population is gone, or more because of the ripple effects, then we will have achieved the holy grail of immunity. Who cares about the people who actually die from COVID, those who die because of hospital backlogs from car accidents, poisonings, heart attacks, lack of facilities for surgery, or social supports like food hampers going away. It’s a dog-eat-dog world – if you’re weak, natural selection is right to take you out.

And yes, no measure will work on its own. Nothing can be 100% effective all of the time for everybody. Hence why if you refuse to wear a seatbelt and someone T-bones you at an intersection, you can’t tell the government that stop signs and turn signals don’t work and therefore we shouldn’t bother.

And yeah, when there’s a crisis, unfortunately it might be attacking where your normal safety precautions are weak. Making sure to not leave an open flame unattended in another room might be great in normal times, but unfortunately it doesn’t matter how much you watch it if it’s burning during an air-raid blackout and someone bombs your or your neighbours house. Sorry guys, but if you wear your life jacket when you know your boat is full of holes, you’re still going to sink.

As for number 6…I just can’t guys…point missed so much I don’t think we can ever bring it back. But I can try…I guess it’s like saying, “Oh crap, I almost got bombed in an air-raid, but then I gave half my harvest to the military…phew.” No? Yeah, me neither.

Ah, the good old institutional powers argument. That’s a whole other blog essay. And we’re not trying to get political here. But if saying something might save one person from coronavirus, just look at the numbers. I say this a lot to people who agree with me, but look at the USA…they’ve been leading the death count for most of this pandemic. They’ve been doing exactly what many in my home province of Alberta wish our government would let us do. Whether it’s recommended or not, they follow few restrictions and try to live life as though nothing is happening. They are leading the death count by a mile. Then look at places like New Zealand. Some here might complain that they blew up a spider with TNT. But overreaction or not, it worked. It’s almost done for them now. Their hospitals can cope not only with any cases that do come up, but also with the daily emergencies that happen. Yes, there are many times when corrupt governments will use crises to gain unchecked power and exploit people. And I’m sure there’s been lots who have done that during this pandemic. But right now, let’s just look at the numbers. If Canada’s pretty-boy, ex-drama teacher Prime Minister tries to stage a coup or use contact-tracing information to sell us MLM products when this is over, then let’s blatantly ignore the health officials. But until then…maybe just try listening to those with experience and expertise? Maybe? Just saying.

And yes, we are all going to die anyway, but does that make life less precious? I know there are times when it really doesn’t feel like it, believe me, but this sounds more like the YOLO logic of middle schoolers. Maybe I will start telling my son, “You know what, sure, go ahead and do whatever you want. You’re going to die anyway, may as well be after you find out what happens to Edward and Bella by the light of your air-strike attracting target light!”

And yes, I myself am baffled that the big scary diseases of the past have not triggered a global shut down like this one. I don’t have any answers from the American satirical news programs that I watch. Off the top of my head, I maybe vaguely remember living through the Swine Flu, Mad Cow Disease, Ebola, SARS, MERS…You know, maybe you are right! I wasn’t one of the millions who died in those pandemics, I shouldn’t care about this one either!

As for #10, that’s not really one I’ve heard. I basically made it up. But I think that it sums up all the others, and many of the comments we are yet to hear. I guess some people are lacking not only in compassion and the ability to care about those outside their immediate circle, but also in a basic grasp of object permanence. These same people say, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, it didn’t make a sound.” Translation: “If it’s not happening to me or my family, it’s not that big of a deal. If it’s not something I can observe or experience with my own actual senses, it doesn’t exist. ”

Kind of reminds me of….FLAT EARTHERS! But that’s also a discussion for another day.

Anyway guys, I’m definitely far from perfect with following health guidelines. Really, I’ve still got to break the habit of licking the seats and floors of public buses. But I know I’m tired of seeing other countries beat this pandemic, and listen to those in my community complain while doctors and the government desperately try to save lives. I’m tired, guys. It’s been one mental breakdown after another for me and many of the people I know. I have one good friend who’s a doctor, fighting with all she’s got to help us beat this, and she’s tired. I and others like me are tired of the lack of income, food, and housing security that continues to plague this two-faced approach that attempts to appease people who’ve forgotten what it means to live in a community.

A little louder for the folks in the back!

I’ve said this before, and I will keep saying it. Do better, guys. Be like New Zealand, even if your government is being like the US. Give us a chance. Give the charities and small businesses and individuals that we at Planet Hope are trying to help a chance. Dear Coronavirus Deniers, we hear you. This situation sucks, the rules suck, and the restrictions suck. So let’s work together to end this.

Love,

Lidi

PS: The only way to kill a spider is with dynamite, guys

PSS: Unless it’s like, one of those Australian nightmare spiders. Then, and only then, is a nuclear warhead acceptable.

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