During my years in both junior high and high school, I developed an interest in writing and it has served me well in my career both in real estate and in my prior corporate positions.

Social media has certainly enhanced our ability for written communication.  Early on I saw the opportunity it offered to take my literary interest and skills further.  The biggest question in my mind is social media being “misused” and I believe the answer is yes.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary established in 1828 defines social media as follows:  

“forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).”

Nowhere in this definition does it say anything about social media being a platform for selling or more importantly is it a place for whining, moaning, bitching and complaining etc.  Frankly we all hear enough of this from a variety of sources daily including but not limited to our family, friends, co-workers, customers and the media in general.  Do we really need a further onslaught of this from individuals on social media sites where many of us go to for all of the things as outlined in the definition above ie: information, ideas, messages, photos, videos and more.

Since the onset of COVID 19 there has been a constant barrage of negative comments on Facebook and elsewhere about the pandemic.  This includes suggestions and opinions that it is not a serious threat or how it is being or not being handled, having to wear a mask, lining up at stores, and the latest attacks against what is now the second province wide Ontario government mandated lock down.  The list goes on and on and on……  Many of the negative comments have been levelled at our politicians including, Justin Trudeau, Doug Ford as well as at the local level including negative comments against Mayors and others all of whom are simply trying to protect the health and well being of people across the country, provinces and at home in our respective communities.

In my lifetime, we have never been through what is clearly a global health emergency.  Unlike New Zealand’s successful COVID 19 outbreak response, we in Canada have yet to win a battle much less the war.  No politician at any level when elected to office was given a “COVID 19 Owner’s Manual.”  Even if they were, the complexion of this pandemic changes almost daily so if a manual did exist, you might as well toss it away because it would be surely of little or no value,

Like most of you, I have heard all the arguments.  Having to wear a mask and or closing things down is against my “civil liberties” etc.  Some claim that suicide rates in other countries have risen due to their government’s lock downs and pandemic response.  I am willing to bet that an extended battle with COVID 19 will have far greater mental and economic hardship versus government intervention to stop this pandemic in its tracks sooner rather than later.  Perhaps the most insulting opinion to me is attempting to twist COVID 19 statistics and its severity with some arbitrary mathematics to illustrate that COVID 19 cases and deaths are only impacting a small multi-decimal point percentage of people in Canada, Ontario and elsewhere.  Using these numbers, those that are standing on their self appointed social media soap boxes are claiming that governments are not doing enough or alternatively they are doing too much and lock downs aren’t necessary or they simple aren’t working.  It would appear that lock downs haven’t worked because too many are foolishly not following the rules, rules that are put in place to benefit us all.   Personally I have yet to hear any of these naysayers offer alternative solutions to what the various levels of government have done to fight this disease.

In taking the stance that some people have it clearly illustrates to me a number of factors none of which are complimentary of human behaviour.  Via their constant complaining and verbal attacks against all levels of government and others with respect to how the pandemic is being or not being handled combined with their mathematical gymnastics, they are simply saying or implying the following and I am referencing to Ontario only.  One, the 164,000 reported COVID 19 cases in the province is insignificant.  Two, the 4,207 deaths in Ontario (as of today) and the impact that both these numbers have on the families affected or us all is small and in essence really doesn’t matter or warrant much of a response.  Three, the fact that there have been on average over 2,300 plus new cases in Ontario reported daily for the past seven days, is nothing we should really be concerned about.  Meanwhile, all of this is taking place while doctors, nurses and other hospital staff are being worked to the breaking point and intensive care units are filling to near capacity leaving little room for victims of car accidents or for those that need immediate medical procedures to perhaps save their life.

Taking into account all of the above illustrates a couple of things the least of which is selfishness.  I for one do not want to be sitting here on December 23, 2021 starring at another holiday season like this one.  At the same time I am one of many that feel we are looking at the fall of 2021 before we can expect to see the current protocols relaxed (not eliminated) thus allowing us to return to some sense of a normal life.  To get there will take dogged determination and plenty of sacrifices and those sacrifices must be universally made by all.  Selfish attitudes need to be shelved if we are to have any success in winning the war before we see larger numbers of people getting sick or worse, dying.

What is of greater disappointment to me is the seemingly complete lack of empathy for those that have been or are currently being affected by the impact of this pandemic.  This includes those that have left us, the impact on their families many of whom will be having a much different holiday season grieving the loss or potential loss of a loved one(s).  Perhaps most importantly, is the lack of empathy for the medical community, those that have and continue to work tirelessly to save lives while implementing measures such as increased testing and vaccine delivery to help us win the war against an enemy unlike the world has not faced in recent years.  If you follow the news it was the medical profession that illustrated to the province the need for this second lock down rather than what some out there suggest was an arbitrary decision Ford Conservative government.  They are simply burnt out and realize that their hospitals capacities are filling while the number of new cases is at an unsustainable level to continue providing the medical care needed across the province for non-COVID 19 related illnesses.  Do I favour the December 26th lock down?  Yes. Will this Christmas and holiday season regardless of our beliefs require that my family and I as well as yours take a different approach including cancelling Christmas dinner? Yes.  Is it worth it?  To ensure a brighter future, absolutely.

In 1991 my former wife and I spent three weeks over Christmas and New Years in Sick Kid’s Hospital with our then 14 month old son who went through serious open heart surgery.  Due to this and other circumstances I am no stranger to sacrifice and a less than normal Christmas.  Other parents are going through similar situations right now.  As such, a COVID 19 lock down and not being able to ski or go to their favourite restaurant or bar is the last thing on their minds.  Tough times call for tough measures and this is clearly one of those times.  Would I like to have Justin Trudeau’s or Doug Ford’s job right now?  No thanks and I suspect you wouldn’t either.  So before you draft a message on your computer or smart phone and hit the “enter” key pushing your gripes and self serving opinions into cyberspace for millions to read, think about what you are about to say.  It may well speak more negatively about you that it does of COVID 19 and the efforts of our politicians and others that are trying to dig us out of the mess we have found ourselves in.  Most things in life take a collective effort to achieve success and this is one of those times even if it takes provincial legislation to get there.

Growing up I often heard the saying “if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything.  For some it’s time to put your partisan political beliefs aside, step down from your soap box and perhaps break it up for firewood.  We could be in for a long cold winter.

Tis the season to be thankful for what you have and not bitch about what you don’t.  Give thanks to the front line workers that will no doubt have a more difficult and stressful Christmas than you or I.  Pay respects even if only in your minds to the 4,207 fallen victims in Ontario to COVID 19 in 2020 and their grieving families.  When speaking with one of my cousins earlier this week he shared with me that one of his relatives on the other side of the family who I also knew had succumbed to the virus.  That is hopefully as close as I will get to COVID 19 affecting my life and I wish the same for you.

Stay safe, stay healthy and best wishes to you and yours for the holidays.