Aware of rights, freedoms

Canadians are known for being a tolerant group of people. We are welcoming of other people and do what we can to integrate other traditions into those that are already here. We have created a constitutional-based society that treats people with respect and as equals.

The Constitution creates a roadmap for us to build our society upon. In our society, we have prized health and education. Building these staple requirements requires the continuing advancement of science and education. Without science and education none of us would have the lives we have or the technology that is so commonplace: cell phones, computers, MRI machines or vaccines. Vaccines are one of the tools our society, most societies, use to prevent mass casualties.

This pandemic has revealed an unusual rift in society. There is a strong urge amongst a very small minority to oppose and nay-say the most basic of scientific facts: the Covid-19 vaccine is a life-saving drug. These same people also claim there is no evidence to support the existence of this disease, deny away all of the scientific facts, and blame the health care workers—who are doing a phenomenal job.

These same people want their lives to continue as if everything is normal, yet they are purposefully ignoring facts that science is providing. Scientific facts are much like life, they grow and change as new information is realized and integrated into the greater understanding. Billions of vaccine doses have been administered around the globe. The main, noteworthy effect that we have learned is that, once administered, the vaccine prevents severe sickness and death.

If we want to keep living the lives we had previous to the pandemic, we need to continue allowing science to educate us with the facts.

The Covid-19 vaccine has been thoroughly tested. None of the “remedies” being touted by vaccine deniers have any sort of scientific facts to back up their claims. These same people have decried sensible measures, such as: face masks and social distancing. Their righteousness and anger are empty and meritless.

These people have taken to attacking the health care workers who care for us when we get sick, as if they are somehow to blame; frontline workers, such as clerks, serving staff and minimum wage employees are attacked simply for following the health guidelines. They claim their freedoms are being stolen away from them.

Throughout this pandemic, people could still get take-out whenever they want, get groceries and travel to many places they did prior to the start of the pandemic. They decry being asked to stop going to the theatre and instead watch movies at home. There are claims that they aren’t allowed to see their family, the same family members that can be face-timed at the push of a button.

Elbow bumps have supplanted handshakes and the hug of a family member or a friend has been sorely missed by us all.

Both of my grandpas went overseas to help protect those people who needed protection and give help. Grandpa B always said that if someone needed help, do what you can to help them. This, to me, summed up being a Canadian.

It is time to reassess tolerance. None of these actions by the vocal minority should be tolerated, ever. Our society is about caring and looking out for one another. We get through this pandemic by working together. There is no room for tolerating these people who are acting in bad faith and purposefully harming our society.

Recently, there are reports of people being admitted to the hospital for non-Covid related issues, and either not being able to access care and being turned away, having life-saving procedures cancelled, or dying for lack of care due to the hospitals being overwhelmed with victims of Covid-19. The overwhelming, un-deniable majority of the Covid sick people are unvaccinated.

This could be an inflection point for us, the Canadian citizens. The term "rights and freedoms" is being misunderstood. Rights and freedoms are not absolutes. They are earned by doing what’s right for society as a whole. We each have the right to live a safe, healthy life. We have the freedom to go out to restaurants, theatres and gatherings with our friends and family. These rights and freedoms are never really thought about in our day-to-day lives, and are taken for granted.

We need to be keenly aware of our rights and freedoms at this moment, 18 months into a global pandemic. If we want our rights and freedoms to continue, we need to do everything we can to help one another and follow the science which provides a means to end the pandemic. If Covid-19 is allowed to spread due to the willful unvaccinated, all of our rights and freedoms will be impacted. Rights and freedoms only have value when we all work together. For those doing their part to end this horrible disease by following the necessary measures, they should have all the rights and freedoms they deserve, within the constraints of the health measures.

For those who refuse and are willfully allowing people to be hurt, they shouldn’t be accorded the same rights and freedoms.

This pandemic has shown us that we can do simple measures and create a great effect that protects our family, friends, fellow Canadians, and others. What are we going to value moving forward? Honouring and rewarding those people doing the right thing and working to the betterment of society, or giving equal rights to people who don’t value our society, each other, or themselves?

Dan Campbell, Penticton

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