Editor: Shortly after Chatham-Kent council imposed mandatory masks upon most citizens, Coun. Joe Faas said: “Usually when there is a crisis, whether it be a war or something like that, communities are brought together … working together for a common cause, but the face mask situation has divided our community and I’m very disappointed in that.”
Mr. Faas’ insight is very suggestive of the situation we are seeing, not only in our community, but in our country as a whole. Throughout Canada, there are various opinions as to how our governments ought to have handled this COVID crisis, which is what would be expected when no one living has gone through such a thing before; we’re all trying to do our best.
However, when such a division does arise in our community, it should set off bells and whistles and make us as individuals stop and think: “Why has this issue divided our community so?”
In the same comments, Mr. Faas also points out that the May 16 Miracle “was a very successful show of community support in working together in trying to deal with this pandemic.” This event was very impressive, and I think a revealing insight to humanity: no one wants to be the bad guy. We all want to do good, to be good.
I think we can all agree, no one wants there to be division among the community. So why is there?
No one wants this virus to spread – even those who don’t follow the rules. But now we do not even have a choice to do the “right thing.” We no longer have the ability to exercise the very things that make us human – our reason, our empathy, our compassion, our love.
In a fight to protect people’s bodies from getting sick, we have neglected to consider the soul and those decisions that actually make us human.
For example, when a husband comes home from work with flowers in hand, the significance of those flowers depends on how and why he decided to pick them up. If his wife asked him to pick them up, this is not really the romantic ideal of bringing home flowers because it was not entirely his choice or decision.
When that same husband brings home flowers because he wanted to do something out of love, to give her a sign of his steadfastness, to show her that he was thinking of her, this gesture, this decision, is full of meaning and consequence. The husband is a better person for it, the wife is reassured of a truth, the home is a happier place because of his thoughtfulness.
However, different from either of these, would be if that husband was ordered to pick up flowers under penalty of sleeping on the couch. The defeated man with flowers, has not acted out of love, but rather fear, and the flowers only signify that fear.
The plain fact of the matter is that many of those in authority do not trust humanity to make the right choices for each individual’s needs. They do not believe, as Mr. Faas believes, that a community of caring people can come together in times of difficulties, that instead they must be ordered to come together. Individuals are not left to make the world a better place through their choices, because individual choice has been taken away.
Instead, we are ordered, top down, to do something and we must obey under consequence of fines, threats or persecution. We no longer can act upon our own accord, out of a human desire for good, but we must simply mask up because our superiors say so. Not with a mask that signifies love, steadfastness, or consideration, but rather with a mask that now can only signify fear of what will happen if we don’t.