Please, show compassion for people who can’t wear a mask
Sir: In Sarnia, masks are mandated to be worn in close public settings, except by those with exemptions, as stated in the bylaw that came into effect July 31.
What I find shocking is that while mask wearing is considered the safe and “kind” thing to do, many show a lack of kindness to those exempt from wearing one.
I have a family member who is exempt. They have been called out and humiliated by elderly men while simply shopping for groceries or visiting the hardware store.
Have we lost our sense of decency? Why is it now acceptable to treat someone you don’t know with blatant distain? Have we lost our ability to respect and treat others civilly when they do something different?
At this point, if someone isn’t wearing a mask, there’s a reason. Whatever it is, it’s not our job to belittle and police strangers.
At this time of great uncertainty, we need to show grace and compassion to one another. We need to treat each other with respect, especially if you expect the same courtesy in return.
As a young mom raising children through this pandemic, I want them to see the importance of treating someone “different” with honour and respect.
This pandemic has reminded us of what we’d lost
Sir: The coronavirus pandemic, with more than one million lives lost in nine months, has been a frightening wake-up call. In Sarnia — and around the world — it has likely resulted in lasting change.
Historically, wasted time has been seen as lost time. The speed of business brought the awareness that hours shouldn’t be wasted.
Being slaves to our laptops and iPhones requires constant connectivity to the e-noise that engulfs our commercial and social worlds. It has created a false need to fill every moment with texts and email messages about ‘something.’ A quiet dinner or slow walk in the forest without our smart phone had become, for most, an abnormal event.
But this dangerous coronavirus, having taken so many lives lost, has brought a new perspective on what is really important.
By rethinking the key elements of daily life, is it possible to create a more empathetic community of kinder humans?
Or is that a simplistic dream? Will we stop being slaves to the immediacy of daily, must-do goals, or will we continue to care only about our own needs, and not others?
Some heroic people have continued to work throughout in health care, retail, transport and laboratories, as have teachers, parents with young children, and those who care for the elderly.
But for many, forced confinement has temporarily freed us from the speed-driven schedules, bringing a calmer lifestyle.
We’ve been able to replenish the mind by doing nothing in particular; taking breaks to find some quiet, away from the ‘noise.’
For a few months, at least, we’ve had a chance to slow down.
Even those continuing to work online from home have more flexible schedules, with pockets of unstructured, free-floating time.
Let’s use this time to consider new personal goals and happier perspectives, and discover what really matters.
An open verse to the United States of America
Sir: I am Canadian. We are considered polite.
I will remain so here.
We are a socialist democracy.
The U.S., a capitalist democracy.
Our Prime Minister makes mistakes.
He’s comparatively young. He takes good council.
He speaks of what he knows,
And knows when not to speak.
He can be mean (depending), but never cruel.
He has great wealth, but neither flaunts nor hides it.
When he equivocates or lies, he knows it.
We have all the amenities of a capitalistic society,
With the security and comfort of our social pluralism.
Our youth enrol in a free and fine education.
We have no rich or poor school districts.
We have no security guards or metal detectors.
We are not an economic superpower.
We do not influence worldly affairs with an itch or a sniffle.
Our Senate is powerless (enough said).
Authority and power lie in the multi-party system;
Each chooses its leader.
We don’t vote for the Prime Minister,
But every four years, we can vote one out.
And get this: sometimes the party changes horses midstream to rein in getaways.
A coup d’état is almost impossible,
Unless we get invaded for our fresh water.
We’re not nuclear-armed, but when called, the Forces are tenacious.
We’re not warmongers. We really do prefer peace.
Our former P.M. won a Nobel for coming up with the idea of a U.N. Peacekeeping Force. That’s a real one.
We have serious problems, like the U.S. At times, the innocent and the guilty get hurt; that’s never good. And we support most of their political initiatives, domestic and foreign, and their peaceful demonstrations. We know pain too.
I know Americans love their country. And they have damn good reasons.
Most Canadians love them too, and we are very worried about our southern neighbours who treat us so well when we visit west of the St. Clair River.
We’ve helped them when they were in need; when their country was under attack. We are good neighbours with good fences. We will always be there for them and whatever Democracy they choose.
Please, choose wisely.