Lately I have been overwhelmed with emotions from all ends of the spectrum. I have felt fear, anger, rage, loathing, resentment, hope and peace. I have felt both the unity of community and the separation. I have felt a part of something greater, and simultaneously alone.
And I suspect a great deal of the globe has experienced something similar given the events of the past 18 months.
Somewhere between 2017 and 2018, I read The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, and had this overwhelming feeling of dread. This sense that Atwood had somehow predicted our not too distant future. For a time, this dread was put at ease after I read how she came to draft the novel over snippets of newspaper clippings of real life events throughout history. I thought, Ah, it feels like a real threat because these kinds of things have happened. But we have learned from our mistakes...right?
However I could not put out of my mind the similarities of today's world. The constant battle of the LGBTQ community to be “allowed” the right to love who they love or to make the necessary changes physiologically so their bodies match their souls - as though they actually required permission from cis-gendered individuals who have zero to do with their daily lives. And the war on women's reproductive rights and access to safe abortions and birth control, as though they were toddlers unable to decide what was best for themselves and their bodies.
As we have been forced to cover our faces, mandated into isolation, forbidden to engage in social activities and were required to close the doors on many establishments, the world has been on a roller coaster of emotions built on empty and false promises of “getting back to normal” and “accepting the new normal”. We have been inundated with information from all sides, both the governing bodies who share their expert opinions and use the best guess of their medical experts to dictate how each province or state will operate, and the expert opinions of specialists ranging from virologists, immunologists, microbiologists and even the creators of the PCR test and those who studied the MRNA jabs. The experts who are not paid by governing bodies have been threatened, lost their licenses and practices, have been banned from social media and silenced for the things they warn us about.
Those who question and raise suspicion of these situations are deemed conspiracy theorists, quacks, and crazy. They are laughed at and looked down upon for thinking for themselves and wanting more information about what this jab may do to them long term and why it is being pushed so hard for something that has such a high survival rate among healthy individuals.
It has gone so far that the Toronto Star had allowed a front page article to be printed on August 26th, 2021 with hate speech towards the unvaxxed, sharing opinions that said things like, “I have no empathy for the unvaxxed, let them die”, and “They should not be allowed access to medical care if they get sick”. This situation has caused division between friends, family, co-workers, neighbours and communities. We have been pitched against each other, and I fear this will only worsen as the Alberta Government, on September 3rd, 2021 stated loosely that the unvaccinated were responsible for the continued strain on the medical system, the reinstated masking requirements, and it was the unvaxed who were responsible for the newly issued vax mandates.
When it was first announced in 2020 that there was a virus going around, and people began to raid the stores to stock up on toilet paper and non-perishables, I was more afraid of society and how it would behave towards each other, than I have been of the risk of actually catching the virus. When a society lives in fear, it gets vicious. It forgets its humanity and lives in a constant flight or fight mode. They lose rationale and the ability to think critically. And that is more terrifying than any virus, in my opinion. I grow more and more concerned about retaliation on the unvaxxed.
As talk of vaccine passports roll out, and mandatory vaccinations are being forced on our healthcare workers, military and city employees, I can not help but wonder how so many can be ok with the idea of giving up the freedom of choice with respect to their medical care. The government should never have access to, or the ability to control, our medical care and choice of treatment.
This past week in Texas they passed a law that made it illegal for a woman to have an abortion after 6 weeks of gestation. A time when most women don’t even yet know they are pregnant. This is the kind of thing we will be looking at if the governments succeed in the passports. They will be able to decide and dictate what goes into our bodies and when. They will be able to decide if you are eligible for a particular treatment based on the current state of your medical files. They will be able to force vaccination of anything they and their affiliated manufacturers create, because to refuse will mean you lose your right to access the grocery store, the gym, and events. They could restrict your ability to get a driver's license and renew your registration. They could prevent your ability to obtain a loan for your home, or your business. They could deny your child entry into schools, and you may become unemployable.
I can see the argument from the side of those who support the idea of vaccine passports, as we require a driver's license to drive and register a car, and in Canada we carry a healthcare card to have access to our medical system, and we can be tracked by our cell phones. However, they are all still available by choice. We choose to carry a cell phone knowing that we could be traced. We also have the ability to disable GPS and location sharing, or leave it at home when we go out. We choose whether or not we obtain a drivers license and drive a vehicle. Not everyone has made this choice. As for the healthcare card, we have these cards to receive the free medical care we are offered in Canada, which is a human right. It allows the medical treatment centres, hospitals and walk-in clinics access to our medical records so that we can be given the best treatments required for our personal health. And in these situations, we have given our informed consent to utilize said cards and purchase cell phones.
Neither of these things determine whether or not we may have access to the basics of living, such as grocery stores, gyms, dental offices, wellness centres etc.
I am not an anti-vaxxer. I do believe that vaccines, actual vaccines, work in eradicating diseases such as polio, diphtheria, small pox etc. I also believe in natural immunity, holistic methods of treatments and utilizing all opportunities for better health and wellness options. I have received the benefits of our current medical system over the years, and I have also seen where it has failed, miserably, and only holistic treatments were able to correct or heal the ailment.
For this reason, I am pro choice. I believe we have the right to choose what we do with our own bodies. We have the right to decide the best course of treatment for ourselves based on our beliefs, the evidence and information at hand. I have always believed this to be true, even though for a time I was not aware of alternative methods of healing the body - something I feel I should have been informed of by my doctor when my concerns about the use of certain pharmaceuticals arose.
And I am incredibly dismayed and disappointed at the feminist community, members of the LGBTQ community and pro-choicers who have been screaming from every platform that it is their right to decide what to do with her body, only to turn around and shame anyone who has not yet received the jab. I am curious how you view these as two separate situations, and justify telling anyone what they should do with their bodies. You are a hypocrite and should be ashamed of yourselves.
For those who feel the unvaxxed do not deserve medical care and should be left to die if they contract the virus, I am curious to know if you drink, use drugs, smoke, use pesticides and herbicides and other toxic chemicals in your home?
It is well known that using these substances can cause a long list of ailments and diseases such as cancer, heart and lung disease, liver failure, neurological disorders, diabetes and the like.
How do you justify your position that someone making the decision to remain unvaxxed, knowing the risks they face if they catch the virus, should not receive the same access to medical care that you have, when you have made a similar decision taking a drag of your cigarette, downed a shot of alcohol, or sprayed your yard in chemicals to prevent weeds and pests? Although fully informed of the risks of developing these diseases, you still chose to partake in the use of these substances. How is this any different?
Does this mean, by claiming the unvaxxed do not deserve medical treatment, that you are waiving your rights to medical care? Waiving your right to surgery, prescriptions, and a doctor's care should you develop cancer? Or diabetes? Shouldn’t you do your part then, to ease the future strain on our medical system?
I didn’t think so.
Humanity has lost its ability to empathize with each other.
In the beginning, one group shamed and jeered at anyone who was afraid and concerned about the virus, who jumped the gun and stockpiled supplies.
Now those same individuals are the ones being shunned and shamed for their concerns and fears surrounding a rush injection.
Throughout the entire situation, I have watched groups of individuals waffle back and forth on what they believe, the decisions they support, and what they think should be done to protect ourselves. And I find the whole thing ridiculous. It reminds me of the scene from the movie Hook. Robin Williams needs to accept that he is Peter Pan, and the lost boys run back and forth across a line drawn in the sand, attempting to decide if they are for Pan, or for Ruffio. Pan and Ruffio each state a fact that makes them the better choice, and the boys run back and forth in vain trying to decide which side is the right side to defend them against the pirates.
The reality of the situation is that it did not matter if they chose Pan or Ruffio because they were always on the same side, defending their right to exist in Neverland.
Society has become a mess of lost children, running back and forth over an invisible line, deciding which side they should take. Which rights they stand for. What is best for them. Who they should listen to. Should they get vaxxed, or wait it out and stay unvaxxed? We have forgotten that we are on the same side. And while we run around in a state of confusion and uncertainty, pointing fingers and name calling, the government is removing our rights and freedoms, issuing new bills and laws and steadily reducing our ability to make decisions for ourselves.
Pretty soon our Never Never Land of Rights and Freedoms will look more like an Orwellian world of Gilead, and we will all be standing there wondering how we could have let this happen.