By Kuya Minogue
Last Saturday, you broke my heart and shook my faith in the essential goodness of all beings. It was especially heartbreaking to see churches, religious groups and members of spiritual recovery programs out on Canyon Street, carrying signs to attack and defy the provincial and national guidelines for preventing the spread of this devastating — in many cases — permanently damaging and killing virus.
Even with my limited knowledge, I understand that the underlying message of all religions and spiritual groups is “take care of each other, and protect each other from illness and aggression” – my own residual aggression, as well as the aggression of others. Just as disheartening were the drivers in the passing cars honking horns in support.
I understand your passion to preserve what you see as a civil right, although if you look into it, you will find that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not give you permission to harm other Canadians. I see that you are using the time-honoured tactic of civil disobedience to make your point.
It is civil disobedience that ended segregation in the United States, and it is civil disobedience that expelled the British colonizers in Gandhi’s India, and it is civil disobedience that brought women, like me, the vote. But you, dear anti-maskers, are using this tool of activism to gain the right to increase suffering, not reduce it. For me, this is a time to step back from political aims and step forward into kindness and caring for each others’ lives.
I understand that you are hurting. We are all suffering in one form or another. What we need to do to get this virus under control. There is financial suffering, to be sure, but the real suffering is when we watch family and friends get this virus, and either come near to death or die.
Right now, I have a distant relative entering the pneumonia stage with this virus, and one or more of you may be in that situation as well — especially after gathering in a crowd without physical distancing and without masks. May you all be safe and well after such foolishness.
The Alberta government has issued requests to the federal government and Red Cross for field hospitals to care for their sick and dying. Please, stop what you are doing before we have the same situation here, in Creston. Please realize that the only way out of this is to be calm, be well, be safe and be kind. I would add, “be wise.”