Dorothy Dobbie
Issues in the news

For the past two and a half years, Canadians, indeed people around the globe, have been living in a world of suspended animation. Worse, the suspension has been over a cauldron of fear and imminent disaster. One false move, we were told, and we risked landing in the cauldron and boiling to death.

We suddenly stopped the world and couldn’t even get off. We just hung there.

Now, we have decided to start the engines again. Like fledgling birds, we are leaving the safety of our nests, tentatively, some fearfully, some just poking their heads out. And the world is not the same. There is a sense of loss, a sense of anger, a sense of pent-up frustration because we expected to be celebrating the moment, and instead we are wandering aimlessly back to life outside where there is bad weather, criminals, high prices, shortages of goods we took for granted. Along with this are new fears to confront: the virus is morphing – will the next variant be more deadly or simply more virulent? Even the word, “virulent” strikes fear into sheltered hearts. And lo, there is another threat – monkey pox, no matter that it largely affects men who have sex with other men – what if it too can change and become more “virulent”?

And the daily disaster news always carries a dose of the inevitable ending of the world through climate change. We are creating too much of the stuff of life, carbon, say the experts and that will precipitate sharp changes in the weather that will cause one catastrophe after another, but not before we punish everyone by making them turn off the air conditioner and turn down the heat, learn to ride bicycles or drive electric cars, cut our meat consumption to half of what it is now, eat less overall because farmers are being instructed to reduce fertilizer to slow plant growth and I guess raise fewer animals for us to eat. (I wonder if we are supposed to kill the bison we have nurtured back into herds and how about the bears and birds – I guess some won’t miss the geese – and foxes and wolves not to mention the deer . . .)

But here’s the good news! If you can afford it, you can still fly all over the world or take a carbon spewing ocean liner . . . but then . . . maybe not, because you have no passport and only half the planes are flying. And if you didn’t vaccinate, then you can’t go, anyway. And even if you did, you have to figure out how to fill out that pesky and pointless ArriveCan app every time you leave the country and come back!

And why is it that planes aren’t flying, civil services aren’t keeping up, nurses and doctors seem to have become as rare as dodo birds? Why can’t we find workers to do the everyday jobs that need to be done? Well, unbelievably, regaining the momentum we deliberately halted two and a half years ago is not an easy thing to do. Besides half the population cowering in fear – the management half, I might add, because the worker class were out there keeping the lights on and the grocery stores stocked, there was another group having a jolly good time working at their own pace and sometimes not at all. It is hard to regenerate that energy after so much inertia.

So that’s all of it, right? Well, no. There is the ever-present mourning for the sins of the past. There is the constant reminder that European-based populations, the ones that created the fine world we left, are basically evil, racist, misogynistic, greedy, cruel, unfeeling brutes (that’s most of us, especially the blonde ones) who deserve to be replaced, displaced and cancelled. No wonder we are in the grips of dysphoria.

So, the question is, which will destroy the world first, the changing climate, the raging viruses, or the complete collapse of the civilized world due to its cancellation?

I don’t know about you, but I would find the whole thing laughable if it weren’t for the fact that so many otherwise sane people seem to have bought into the current narrative like lemmings plunging to the death in the sea, driven by some universal urge toward self-destruction.

Except there is a glimmer of hope here and there. I see it in your eyes, you, the ones who silently resist because railing against the dark is pointless and we have lost the energy to follow the advice of Dylan Thomas when he wrote “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

You may not rage, unless you are a trucker, but I know you won’t give up either and this absurdity will pass as we either dodge the beginning of a dystopian future – or escape to Mars with Elon Musk!