No Unity

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Originally posted on October 23rd, 2022

I read a Facebook post that went something like this:

Manitobans: can we please do a re-set?

It doesn’t matter if you are anti-vaccination or pro-vaccination, a believer in covid or a non believer in covid, pro-government or anti-government....

Can we all just agree that we don’t want to see our medical system completely break down? Because no matter what we believe, we all need a medical system that can function to meet our needs. And that is not happening right now.

Can we all agree that we don’t want to see people turned away at the hospital because there is no room? Because it might not be our family member that gets turned away today, but it might just happen tomorrow.

Can we all agree that our nurses and all our hospital staff are at the breaking point? Because we won’t be able to replace them if they all go on stress leave from living through 15 months of hell in a job that they never signed up for.

Can we all agree that we want hospitals to perform necessary surgeries, instead of having to cancel them to make room for more and more covid patients? Because right now, every day, surgeries are being postponed. And we never know when one of us might be the one in need of surgery.

Can we all - regardless of what we believe - just go back to being decent human beings that care about others? It’s ok that we disagree, it’s ok to have different opinions. But can we stop being angry at each other? Can we work together to help our hospitals?

We have gotten off track here. The people in Manitoba are kind, friendly people who care about others. It’s time to start doing that again.

We can see that hospitals need our help. So let’s help them. It’s not to help the government. It’s not to infringe on your rights. It’s to help people.

Wear a mask. For the nurses.

Stay home if you are sick. For the doctors.

Get vaccinated. For the aides and all the hospital staff.

They are all exhausted. They need our help.

This person means well and back then I would have agreed with what they wrote. But here's the problem. Messages like this deal with a target audience that has been groomed to think the way they think for decades, dare I say centuries. I'm not saying this to fear-monger or to cause people to have panic attacks. I'm just stating the truth. Disagree if you want.

Political polarization has always been around because folks on both the alt-right and the far left have been trying to push their causes ever since before the industrial revolution. Humanity has always struggled with escalating economic inequality. The evolution of new media has only amplified our division and because we're overwhelmed with knowledge, it's hard not to say the quiet parts out loud. Like any political and social problem, political polarization always rears itself in our everyday lives from the Freedumb Convoy constantly protesting in random places across Canada to Uncle Ray getting made at Thanksgiving because his business got complaints for not taking down their flags to half mast on September 30th. Sure, we can all say that each political party wants the same thing, but the big difference between political ideologies lies in the solutions. The consolidation into two competing camps was just blown up onto the surface over the past half decade.

Can we all just agree? On a basic need for the system not to collapse, most people do, but in terms of how to keep things going, it really isn't that simple. It's not simple because the voice of "can we all just agree" comes from groups with privilege and not groups who struggle with things like race, poverty, or disabilities like autism. I'm not saying that any group's struggle is more valid than another (although I do have a motto that says "Marginalized Lives Matter.") I'm saying that different people with different needs only guarentees so much freedom for one group. One group's freedom is always another group's prison.

The other point I want to make is that messages like this indicate th lie that there is a dramatic shift in morality. Race, religion and ideology have always aligned with a partisan identity even in generations when political parties were relatively heterogenous coalitions. Capitalists have been fighting the new deal since before World War 2. Evangelical Fundamentalists were fighting tooth and nail for power even while they were owning slaves in the south. Anti-neurodiversity was always part of eugenics, a field that James Dobson was part of unitl he became one of the most famous Christians to start the company "Focus on the Family." Bad ideas don't change but the language around them does. And they spread faster and only seem more cruel given the times and the media we have access to. But it's always been there. Right now it's just loud.

There has been some progress (I mean quite a few people are more accepting of different coloured and neurodiverse groups and ideas), but even posts like this also indicate that we've come such a long way only to see things start to fall apart. Maybe the truth is that we're holding up the wrong ideas, and unity is one of those ideas. While authoritarian groups seem threatening to those who embrace diversity, diversity is a threat to authoritarians who love their mayonaise culture. I say that the only way this can be solved is if something big happens and one group either goes into hiding or fights hard for the life they want (this is one of the reasons I'm starting to prep). If it doesn't happen in the next decade, it probably will soon after that. I'm both excited and kind of terrified, but I do think this is the only solution. Even after one group wins and the other is imprisoned, like Isreal was imprisoned in Babylon, that doesn't mean ideologies just disappear. They live on, and the cycle will repeat itself. All this simply means is that we need to pick and choose a side and fight for what we feel is right. And to me, it definitely is not the alt-right.