Cruel Isn’t Cool

I have grave concerns about the direction some people are choosing to go in when dealing with mandates, protocols and responding to posts and articles. My most recent Facebook post was to relate an unpleasant experience that I had with a local business owner who closed his door in my face and told me to not come back after I requested my take-out order be brought to me outside as neither employee was wearing a mask. This issue was resolved after I called WorkSafe BC to investigate the business’s protocols and I received a sincere apology from the co-owner and a guarantee to do better. The experience was concerning as my husband and I are both over 65 and immune compromised. It was also disheartening as we miss going out to lunch once a week and this was a first time getting take-out at this establishment. I can tell you that we take appropriate precautions and are mostly isolated at home. What sticks in my craw is how, in the comment section, some people chose to defend this act of cruelty and attack me for calling the business out and, for having expectations that protocols were being observed. There were the usual cries “personal rights”, “just stay home” and, “masks don’t work”. The lack of compassion made me quite sad but I hung in there and tried to see beyond the cruelty and to have a conversation. Eventually the admin of the group turned off commenting. How unfortunate.

Photo by Randalyn Hill on Unsplash

I think it’s very frightening to observe the shouts of personal rights from those who’d have me confined to my home. Where are my rights? Are your personal agendas more valuable than my life? This screams entitlement. What if smokers defied the law and rallied to defiantly puff away in public places while screaming “I have a right to!” while you unwillingly risk your health breathing in their toxins while dining at your favourite restaurant? What if you live with an inside smoker who’s asserting their rights while claiming science is a scam? Isn’t the right to good health and a safe environment a priority for all? I’m personally grateful to my government bodies that are doing the hard work for me to figure this virus out and work their asses off to protect me. Think for a moment, where would we be if not for their efforts?

Now I hear on CBC that there’s a building trend to leave the vulnerable behind in order to open things up. What will follow oppression, euthanasia? What if it were young children in general who were in the severe risk category? How many would then jump on that bandwagon?

I feel compelled to speak out and call out behaviors of this nature. I will not become apathetic and hide away in my home like a prisoner. I can’t afford to become discouraged or tired in the face of cruelty. I will cloister and act. I will make my best effort to remain compassionate and kind.

I will try to understand, listen, set boundaries and whatever other tools I can muster up out of my granny tool belt.

Perhaps, as a beginning, we can all stop shouting our opinions and start listening more to each other’s stories. I want to understand where you’re coming from. How is this impacting your life? How are you coping with your anger and frustration? Are you projecting it all onto others or are you looking for viable solutions? Are you willing to be focused on kindness and compassion and occasionally step into someone else’s shoes? We all have different medical, economical, social and family statuses and so are bound to be wanting agendas to meet those individual needs. How can we make this work inclusively? Perhaps this cafe owner could have seen my fear when I told him how risky his environment was for me and reacted in compassion. Why he didn’t is beyond me.

It is a slippery slope to be out-of-touch with ourselves and therefore, others. This is where anarchy, oppression and prejudice find their beginnings.

Always speak up to oppression and cruelty and keep moving forward.

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