How did we get here?

joseph's picture

Health care workers harassed and demonized at their workplace.

People blocked from attending medical appointments.

Ambulances carrying critically injured patients delayed from reaching hospitals.

Paramedics and nurses leaving their jobs due to stress.

How did we get here?

I'll start by acknowledging the legitimate concerns around equity and coercion with so called "vaccine passports", and those issues warrant much more pubic scrutiny and debate.   But I am not asking here about the ethics or efficacy of vaccine passports.

I am asking about the tactics of targeting health care workers and blocking access around hospitals and medical clinics, whatever one's cause.

In my mind that crosses a line.  A bright, red line.

I defend any Canadian's right to express their views and to protest against government policies they object to.  But that does not confer a license to interfere with others' rights to seek or provide health care.  Period.

What I want to know is this:

How did we go from nightly applause in the streets as a show of support for those literally risking their lives on the frontline of this pandemic, to threatening and harassing those very same people for just doing their job?

Do we not have a duty to provide a safe and respectful workplace for public employees who dedicate their lives to caring for us in our moments of deepest need?

I am appalled, dismayed, disheartened.  
I worry for the very fabric that holds society together.  
I feel sick to my stomach.
Am I alone?


Bright Red Line

Joseph, I, too, am deeply sickened by the protests preventing patients and healthcare workers from access to clinics and hospitals. I have also been reading lately about the intentional destruction of heathcare facilities in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Something is shifting in our world, which is terrifying. I am feeling like I’ve awakened in a most horrible post-apocalyptic world, the likes of which used to be only found in novels.

How did we get here

You are not alone. I worry that we are mirroring what we see south of the border. I seemed to have missed the moment when we switched and allowed ourselves to be drawn into the mind set that allows disregard, disrespect and disharmony to get a foothold. When did we stop appreciating the privileges that living in a developed country brings with it, when did we forget that diversity means strength, if we celebrate our differences and not fight them. When did we stop to respect each other’s point of view, when did we loose our tolerance for each other’s way of life. When I look to our friends all over the world in the undeveloped countries, that pull together to make it through life one day at a time. Sharing what little resources they have, holding each other up in times of struggle and need, I am saddened by our behaviour and lack of gratitude for all our country has to offer. Can we not voice our opinions in a meaningful way, without tearing down friendships and relationships, be they personal, political or otherwise, and do we really need to attack those that give us care and kindness in times of sickness and health? I hope though. Let’s pull together, lets talk, not yell. Let’s reconnect. Can’t we see where this all will lead? We have seen it too many times before. Are the words NEVER AGAIN, that have been written way too often on peace poles and into books of reconciliation, still just hollow and empty? We are better then that. Are we not ?

Bright Red Line

I woke up this morning and my first thoughts were of the mob blocking the entrance to VGH. I saw myself standing in front of them, trying to hold them back. Joseph, your last line echoes that feeling of being alone, trying to stave off the self-entitled zombie hordes. I feel we need a renewed mass public show of support for health care workers, maybe something more than banging pots and pans or hanging a heart on the front gate. I don't know what that would entail, exactly, but I was glad to hear Kennedy Stewart's condemnation of the protesters. It sounded genuine. The rights of being a citizen are no greater than the responsibilities.

Hi Joseph,You are not alone.

Hi Joseph,
You are not alone. This idea that personal rights are worth more than collective responsibilities stems I think from the opulent lifestyles that our generation has experienced. Of course, that was built on previous generation's "progress" in economic growth at the expense of nature, community, and respect of different cultures and their valued place in our world. As you know, I am very heart broken by the dying trees and birds and amphibians currently on our island and across the west coast. We don't respect each other - let alone the natural world. YET - there are more and more people waking to their own impacts and the impacts of our self-entitled ideas about what "things" make us happy. Let's take a moment to read from someone who is all too familiar with being disrespected:
Hopi Indian Chief White Eagle commented a few days ago on the current situation:
′′ This moment humanity is experiencing can be seen as a door or a hole. The decision to fall in the hole or walk through the door is up to you. If you consume the news 24 hours a day, with negative energy, constantly nervous, with pessimism, you will fall into this hole.
But if you take the opportunity to look at yourself, to rethink life and death, to take care of yourself and others, then you will walk through the portal.
Take care of your home, take care of your body. Connect with your spiritual home. When you take care of yourself, you take care of everyone at the same time.
Do not underestimate the spiritual dimension of this crisis. Take the perspective of an eagle that sees everything from above with a broader view. There is a social question in this crisis, but also a spiritual question. The two go hand in hand.
Without the social dimension we fall into fanaticism. Without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and futility.
Are you ready to face this crisis. Grab your toolbox and use all the tools at your disposal.
Learn resistance from the example of Indian and African peoples: we have been and are exterminated. But we never stopped singing, dancing, lighting a fire and rejoicing.
Don't feel guilty for feeling blessed in these troubled times. Being sad or angry doesn't help at all. Resistance is resistance through joy!
You have the right to be strong and positive. And there's no other way to do it than to maintain a beautiful, happy, bright posture.
Has nothing to do with alienation (ignorance of the world). It's a resistance strategy.
When we cross the threshold, we have a new worldview because we faced our fears and difficulties. This is all you can do now:
- Serenity in the storm
- Keep calm, pray everyday
- Make a habit of meeting the sacred everyday.
Show resistance through art, joy, trust and love.
Hopi Indian Chief White Eagle
Inserted July 9th 2021

thank you Joseph for your volunteer work in our community!!

not alone

It is worrying, for sure. Our emphasis for years, or probably decades, has been individual rights and privileges, and obligations to the collective and society have been nearly forgotten. Along with it, the principles and purpose of public health (and maybe even the idea of public health) have been de-emphasized and forgotten.

I believe - and maybe I am fooling myself, but I don't think so - that the demonstrators did not have the intention of blocking access to the hospital, or of stopping or delaying ambulances from getting patients to emergency. I think that their worry and fear that they are losing their rights and privileges as Canadians led them to the demonstration, and that the excitement of being in a crowd led some of them to be over-excited. It might be called mob mentality. Calmness and good judgement are hard to keep or find in a crowd that is excited by its own size and power, and the energy that comes with the validation of so many other people seemingly agreeing with the purpose of the demonstration - the apparent validation of the view and position on the covid situation issues that they hold and were having confirmed and bolstered.

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