The number of COVID-positives are on the rise again and as the numbers increase, so too does the anxiety that many of my friends are feeling. Folks are swamped with pandemic worries and they’re wondering what, if anything, they can do to benefit themselves and others.
WEAR. A. MASK.
Please, please wear a mask when you’re with other people!
Almost daily I almost (I’m always alert) bump into folks not wearing masks. Almost daily there are stories of anti-maskers on the news broadcasts and social media feeds. People from all parts of Canada, folks I know and probably people you know too, with diverse educational backgrounds, encompassing all socioeconomic variables, all refusing to wear a mask because it impinges on their freedoms. They’re proceeding “business as usual” in their daily lives, they’re gathering in groups with scant attention to physical distancing recommendations, walking the streets, carrying placards and chanting, all the while with no face coverings. They claim they’re demonstrating in support of their civil rights.
NO! Please don’t confuse these wilful acts of public defiance, of recalcitrance, with altruistic, humanitarian protests – that would be an insult to all the dedicated individuals who worked so hard to achieve social justice this summer. These are acts of rebellion, pure and simple born, perhaps, of pandemic boredom. Anti-maskers are provoking, no daring anyone and everyone to argue with them for the sport of defending a position they supposedly hold dear. This is an overt display of contempt for the medical officers of health, for the front-line medical workers and for the laws of our government. Their petty remarks and constant whinging are an effrontery.
“Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”*
Protests are invaluable in the fight for racial equality and social justice, as we’ve seen this summer. BLM has used the art of the protest brilliantly, fuelling participation from musicians, athletes and, this weekend, actors at the Emmy Awards. They are to be lauded, one and all. I’m not against protesting, not one whit. I am opposed to perversity and spite.
“Ye cannot live for yourselves; a thousand fibres connect you with your fellow-men, and along those fibres, as along sympathetic threads, run your actions as causes, and return to you as effects.”**
Cause and effect. A concept
Ontarians all Canadians need to personally drill down on in the days and weeks ahead if we’re again to flatten the curve. Never in our lifetime has it been more crucial to heed the Reverend Melvill’s admonition, to ask ourselves if our actions are for the benefit of ourselves or others, indeed if our actions pose a threat to others. We need to think for ourselves, and about others.
The coronavirus affects certain people much more acutely than others – the elderly, those with existing ailments, those with compromised immune systems and those having undergone Immunotherapy treatment. Each one of those souls depends upon the public’s perseverance, their commitment to responsible action and their adherence to public health recommendations. For those deemed most vulnerable, the wearing of masks – by everyone – is utterly essential – a life-and-death practice, if you will. They rely daily upon such dedication to cause. I know this because I’m one of them. ‘Though I am loathe to admit it, I find myself in that vulnerable demographic and I so badly need everyone to remember that we’re all connected by invisible threads and that along these sympathetic fibres, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.
I implore everyone to intentionally be of value to your family, friends and community by wearing a mask at all times when you’re with other people. Everyone’s cooperation and steadfastness is desperately needed. Right now! We all have a role to play during this pandemic and yes, most of us are unhappy with our lot, but this is not the time for complaining, revolt or despair. This is the time to ensure our actions are for the benefit of ourselves and others, to ensure our right actions run as causes and return to us as positive results.
’Til next time, y’all…
**Rev. Henry Melvill, 1798-1871. Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Church of England. He graduated, St. John’s College, University of Cambridge: B.A. 1821, M.A. 1824, and B.D. 1836. Of note, the Bachelor of Divinity, the highest ranking bachelor’s degree, is the most senior academic achievement, superior to a doctorate.