Freedom: Not an idiot in a hot tub
A graduate of the University of Toronto, Trevor Hutchinson is a songwriter, writer and bookkeeper. He serves as Contributing Editor at The Lindsay Advocate. He lives with his fiancee and their five kids in Lindsay.
Remember back last fall when some of us were getting hopeful for 2022, after a very difficult year and a half?
The Delta COVID variant was plateauing, vaccination rates were climbing and there seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Well, that light ended up being an oncoming train, in the form of the Omicron variant. And oh yeah, a war in Europe.
The hits just keep coming. A local mental health care provider I know says they have never been so busy. A lot of us aren’t in a great place after whatever you want to call 2020–21. (I have some suggested names but none of them are suitable for a family magazine.)
At least with spring starting to pop we will get nature’s reminder of renewal and life, even if our news feed is reminding us of the exact opposite.
And here’s some news: COVID isn’t over. With the removal of restrictions we will all get to pretend things are normal again. But this is normalcy cosplay; it’s not real. We have never, ever defeated a disease by achieving herd immunity. It’s not how disease and viruses work. Living with COVID means neighbours dying with COVID.
Removing some of the easiest non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking and vaccine passports or failing to concentrate on other easy ones (like improved ventilation) almost guarantees a sixth wave (or wavelet). This isn’t me saying this; this is the many, many epidemiology experts who warned us well in advance of waves two through five.
As I write this, 37 million Chinese citizens are under lockdown — and not the half-assed inconveniences that whiners called lockdowns here. Trends in Asia and Europe are looking troubling with the BA.2 subvariant. The alarm bells are ringing, whether we want to hear them or not.
Worse than the political motivation of changing COVID policies is placing the emphasis on individuals alone. Don’t get me wrong; citizens should be responsible for their actions. But people who deny science and are fed a constant diet of Russian-produced disinformation are going to make different choices than most of us. Sadly though, this minority is being catered to by our provincial leaders. Every vote counts, as they say.
Meanwhile, war rages in central Europe. The brave people of Ukraine have shown us what being a true freedom fighter is. It isn’t being an idiot in a hot tub. It is risking everything you have, including your life, to fight actual tyranny. (Tyranny is bombing children’s hospitals. Tyranny has nothing to do with being told to wear a mask at Wendy’s so that other people can live.)
I so hope I am wrong, but 2022 might not be done with us yet in the bad news department. But here’s wishing that the beauty and wonder of spring will help us all to find some warmth and joy. Slava Ukraini!