I often cite a version of the Serenity Prayer, about what is in my control and what is not. It is my challenge to let go of what is not in my control. (Not my circus, not my monkeys is a lighter version of that).
The COVID pandemic has split everybody into factions. We’ve regressed into a version of a gladiator fight – droplet v. airborne; essential workers v. work from home; send your kid to school v. keep your kid at home; vaccine hoarding countries v. vaccine needy countries; the vaccinated v. the unvaccinated; and Alberta v. the rest of the world.
In an effort to protect only ourselves, we have totally lost our sense of caring for each other. Remember early in the pandemic when people said, oh we will pull together as a community? Well, we haven’t. The more we hide in our own individual rabbit holes, the less we are together.
I’ve blocked a stunning number of people on social media who I thought were my colleagues for their misguided anger. We are in the rage part of the pandemic, and all we are doing is eating each other alive.
I’m not going to say some sort of BS like our public health officials do, like ‘be kind.’ The kindest thing they can do is engineer and enforce strong public health policies, but they are instead weak and waffling. (The kindest thing you can do as a parent is define clear boundaries for your children, instead of letting them run wild, à la Lord of the Flies while you stand to the side and offer up encouraging word salads).
I’ve said before that the government is not my friend. There is nowhere that is truer than the Province of Alberta.
My family left Alberta almost seven years ago for many reasons (politics and weather being #1 and #2). I lived in Alberta for most of my life, but I don’t get a say now because I chose to leave. I do understand the pull of the place, even for a lefty like me. Jobs have been plentiful in the past and many people can afford a house and two cars. People have family there. That blue prairie sky on a crisp winter day. There’s always a good fight to fight or a campaign to join. But this pandemic is too much.
People in Alberta are angry. Folks who are vaccinated rage at those who are not – and for reasons I don’t understand – the unvaccinated are furious at the vaccinated. The health care system is broken and the people who work in health care are broken too. The current government crossed the line and the people of Alberta are paying the terrible price.
If you live in a different province, it is easy to dismiss Alberta and say, ‘oh well, you voted for the government’ but that’s how you depersonalize human beings. The people of Alberta are my daughter, son-in-law, stepsons, aunt, uncle, cousins, colleagues and friends. Nobody deserves what is happening there right now.
This past week I’ve woken up at 4 am and can’t stop thinking about the world my soon-to-be-born and already-beloved grandchild is being welcomed into. One where neighbour hates neighbour and health care may no longer be the right we Canadians thought it was.
I want to say to those who live in Alberta: I care about you. I have a soft spot for your outspokenness, your cowboy mentality, your grit and your gruff charm. I get why you live there even though I’m gone.
I want more than anything for your government to step up with strict public health measures to stop the hemorrhaging of human life that is happening there. If the politicians and bureaucrats don’t do it, then the federal government must step in.
Love thy neighbour and I do love you Alberta and the people in it too. Hunker down but don’t forget to care for each other, because individual tenderness is what is going to get you through. All I have is my thoughts and prayers, and while it isn't much, I donate them to you.
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