Sylvia Shawcross

Some mornings you wake up and straggle-stretch your way to the coffee cup in a state of dismal despair thinking about the state of the world. Which is, well… awful. And you wonder if you’re going to either spontaneously combust from outrage or become emotionally paralyzed by all the purported polycrises occurring in this ridiculous world of the new abnormal.

And you look at the weather forecast and it has an extreme cold warning and out the window the skies are still grey like tarnished silver. That’s when you say you’re gonna take the blue pill instead of the red pill that day.

Just for the day because there can be no other way. Today.

Just for the day you could join the other narrative where life is beautiful all the time or only mildly inconvenienced where the only fear is Covid and maybe the price of groceries. But of course that can’t happen. You know too much now.

We are all going to have the meltdown. Sometimes more than once. The meltdown where you find yourself arguing with yourself over whether you’d prefer to be in a country run by Russia, China or the USA or the globalists? Only to realize you once believed you were in your own country with its own government and such choices were never a thing you’d have contemplated once.

Or maybe even that your own country was an even worse option which many new immigrants have decided as they exit.

“Been there, done that” they say to the shenanigans going on. They recognize the signs from the totalitarian countries they fled before. I don’t know if they’re right or not. It is what some say. But then according to a Leger survey of 1500 adults it was found 2/3rds of Canadians agree “it feels like everything is broken right now in the country.”

The only reason I was thinking about this is because last week I had a minor meltdown. I had been watching the anniversary of the Trucker’s Protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada. Such anniversary get-togethers were taking place all across the country.

Here in the country’s capital, as during the time of the protests, there were the faithful thank-heavens-for-them live youtubers wandering about mingling with the music and the dance. It was through their efforts that truths were told a year ago. There were many and I must have watched them all in those days. Those bitter cold days and nights. You have to know someone is serious if they’re out in that hellish weather to stage a protest in Canada.

Now during this anniversary celebration there were many police but no real ruckus of any sort except over the size of sticks. An older woman holding a staff was obliged to put hers in a snowbank before going on the hill. A 16-year-old holding his flag on a pole, (it may have been a hockey stick) was arrested for having a stick greater than one inch in diameter and made of hardwood rather than softwood. You can of course imagine the clarifications about size and hardness that ensued. This was the height of the ruckus and somehow fittingly banal. There was never a reason for fear. Not then during the original protest and not now. From the truckers anyway.

Now, one of the youtubers interviewed a young man, standing there in disheveled grey with quiet eyes and a ready smile and apparently disabled with a spinal injury. He explained that he was homeless and during the protest he was not accepted into the city’s homeless shelters because of his support for the truckers.

I don’t know if this is true or not.

He said the truckers got him a room at a hotel because of the bitter cold. And that’s when I had my meltdown. It was obvious this man missed the truckers. And I realized with absolute clarity who would miss the truckers.

Who indeed missed the truckers the most? How about the persecuted, the homeless, the sick, the mad, the sad, the lonely. The downtrodden. The ones who were victims of circumstance and not of choice. The ones who lost their jobs. The ones whom I watched around stoves being fed, in tents being listened to, on the streets being hugged and cared for. The ones society threw away or persecuted or threw into bureaucratic systems without thought or care for the individual. Yes. The broken in perhaps a broken country. And always the ones who believed in democracy and the right to protest.

Except, this is Ottawa—a government town. And everyone who is anyone is a government employee or makes a living off of government employees and contracts. They don’t rock boats and live quite comfortably in a privileged bubble. They don’t break rules. They don’t like change. They follow the herd.

They’ve forgotten where they came from. They believed the lies they were told about the truckers. That they were misogynistic right-wing nazis. This would be equivalent to saying every left-wing person is a hateful pedophile. They can’t seem to see that. It amazes me how easy it was to do this divisiveness.

When, I ask, will we ever learn? How was it so easy to dehumanize the truckers to the point that they were to be feared and attacked? Our fellow citizens? Fear brings out the worst in people. Especially fear propped up and created by a media frenzy that quite frankly lied.

Those horns, those blasted blasting horns were a bit much indeed. But they weren’t bombs. They could have been. In a different world. Count your blessings that the people who protested for your right to democracy came with only truck horns. At least acknowledge this. If you cannot acknowledge how much hope and kindness they brought, at least acknowledge that.

The meltdown I had was the study in contrast. At times it truly feels like a battle between good and evil. There is an ancient memory there that scratches at consciousness. It is truly good versus evil or it has been orchestrated to appear that way knowing that it would indeed be interpreted in ways that serve agendas. Who knows. Someone does i suppose. Not I.

How could my country, my government, the vast majority of people in Ottawa support and/or stay silent at the appalling treatment of these truckers (who came in all genders, shapes, sizes, ethnicity and skin-colour)? Arrested, locked up for months, bludgeoned, run over by horses, having bank accounts frozen. These truckers were peaceful.

They came in peace looking for dialogue and solutions. Of this any one of the you-tubers on the ground would show. They were Canadians asking to speak to the government that had failed over and over to speak with them before this. A government that refused to meet with them. And I felt the overwhelming sadness of knowing that perhaps this was my country now. And I swear, it almost broke me.

Love they say, wins over hate. I still want to believe this, despite what I witnessed on Parliament Hill and thereafter in the country of Canada. And as peaceful a person as I am, if I hear one more person call horn-honking an act of aggression I won’t be responsible for my reaction.

It was an act of love. If you can’t see that, there is little hope. Perhaps then, the only consolation to those of us who despair is we can say, after all the evidence has started piling up, “the truckers were right after all.” Figure it out people. Love is all.

Earworm for the week:

Syl Shawcross lives in Quebec, Canada.


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