A view from the sidelines – an email from a friend in Toronto

Last Saturday while out for a walk, I had a run-in with some protesters who were marching along Dupont St which is not far from where we live in the Annex, after their Freedom rally at Queen’s Park. Paul and I both put our masks on when we saw them coming towards us, figuring they probably weren’t vaccinated and there also wasn’t any room to get out of their way.  As they walked past, one of them mocked us for being masked.

Well that did it!  I stopped and pointed at the Canadian flags and ‘freedom’ signs they were carrying and told them in no uncertain terms they didn’t even know or appreciate the meaning of ‘freedom’ and as such, weren’t worthy to carry our flag.  Naturally, I got an earful of the usual trash talk filled with expletives and incomprehensible invective.  But then one shouted at me: “Hey, lady…Try and walk a mile in my shoes”.  To which I said “Gladly!  And when I do, I’ll be a mile away and I’ll have your shoes!!”  Well that shut him up but before he could muster a reply, Paul hauled me out of the fray.  What really pissed the guy off the most though, was probably the fact that I made his buddies laugh. “So, “Masked Madam” – one, “Protest Covidiot” – zero!!

Who would have thought that this noisy rebellion would garner such world attention. We’re not exactly used to being in the spotlight as a country, and it has been quite an eye-opener on many levels, starting with listening to Fox News grind fact into conspiracy fiction, leaving me to finally grasp exactly how easy it was for them to sway the Trump crowd.  Interesting too, is the hijacking of what was a localized and specific-issue protest by a few home-grown malcontents by an assortment of US rightwing groups.  Follow the money one would say initially, but somehow, it has gone way beyond that and sparked and fanned the covid fatigue of the past 2 years in a way that nothing else has.

At this point, it is long past due for our government officials to get off their fat asses and act, particularly now that we are having serious border closings that is adding to and exacerbating our economic frailties.  And, as the store shelves start to empty, wasn’t one of the causes of the French Revolution a lack of bread which riled up the populace when Marie Antoinette said: “Let them eat cake.”  I’ve got no truck with the convoy, if you’ll pardon the pun, but if Trudeau and his minions don’t address this issue more effectively, I can hear the tumbrils rolling.  The rhetoric on both sides is starting to get as chilly as the weather;  from the protesters with their knee-jerk sturm und drang to the politicians with their cowardly buck-passing and hypocritical hyperbole. The only reason that so far there is no body-count, is that unlike our neighbours to the South, we’re not a walking arsenal.  All I can say is:  Get a grip, folks! We also watched Bill Maher Friday night and I enjoyed his rant on Karma and he is so right that everyone has confused it with schadenfreude. Speaking of which, my absolute favourite t-shirt that I once saw in India said: “My karma just ran over your dogma!!!!”


Post Scriptum

Hi Guys,
Yikes!  I certainly didn’t expect you to put that out there, especially as it was one of my mid-night rants!  I’m not sure I’d go the op-ed route with this as you suggested, Denis.  The papers here are full of them and while opinions are all over the map, I don’t think I need to add to the endless noise.  However, all that being said, I be most interested to hear if you get any push-back, Billy, from your readers.  Part of the problem with just about everything today is polarization and our inability to hear other points of view.  We just don’t listen to each other anymore and if we continue in this way, dialogue followed by compromise and/or accommodation, just won’t happen.  Tis a very slippery slope.

Big hugs,