It is an easy decision for me.
On Saturday, a group of people protesting what they say is an infringement of their rights and freedoms are to march in Chatham. Some will come from out of town, including potentially from COVID-19 hot spots.
Also on Saturday, hundreds of volunteers will blanket Chatham-Kent, grabbing donations of toys and non-perishable food items off the porches of homes in our municipality. The massive effort is to feed the less fortunate, and help provide toys to children who might otherwise not have a Christmas this year.
The freedom march can be viewed as a selfish effort; The Gift as a selfless one.
As I said, it’s an easy choice for me.
Now, some people will take part in both efforts, and that’s fine.
As for gathering to protest, that’s a right we have in a democratic nation. What worries me is the out-of-town involvement. People could be bringing COVID-19 into our community.
Now, you’ll have the protesters saying the march is about the removal or limitation of personal freedoms, such as having to wear a mask indoors in public places, as well as physical distancing.
They argue people and businesses are suffering; people from mental health due to physical distancing, businesses as the economy suffers due to limiting the number of people allowed in stores or restaurants at a given time.
Personally, I have not been a regular inside restaurants ever since COVID-19 landed in our laps in March. However, I have supported local establishments by purchasing takeout, and enjoying time on some of the many open-air patios during the warmer months.
As for shopping, I have not purchased one item online via Amazon during the pandemic. Then again, I’ve never funneled cash to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, whose personal fortune has grown by an estimated $48 billion during the pandemic.
I have, however, taken advantage of curbside pickup at various businesses during the height of the restrictions, shopped online with local businesses, and supported local as best as I can.
Buy local, support local, shop local wherever possible. During the pandemic, it’s smart to add stay local to that mantra. Stay out of the hot spots, and discourage folks living in the COVID-19 petri dishes – larger urban centres – to come here at the moment.
Is wearing a mask an inconvenience? Not really for me. But forgetting it in your vehicle when you get to the entrance of a store is. I still do that periodically. But that’s on me.
So you won’t see me at the freedom protest. To me, if you want to not have to wear a mask, the easiest thing to do is respect the guidelines; COVID-19’s curve will flatten faster that way.
You will see me on Saturday, on my front porch, proudly donating to The Gift, at a safe distance, as volunteers come to collect.
That kind of rally – citizens coming together for the good of others – interests me.