Updated: Feb 20, 2022
Note: This is a kind of/sort of follow up to Being Mad Doesn't Make You Right. If you're here because you read that and are a new fan (thanks!!) and are expecting something as poignant or articulate, please accept my apology right now. That was a fluke. I'm not normally that articulate or intelligent, sorry.
The RBG colour model includes 256 shades of gray between black and white.
There are countless directions, and political beliefs, that fall somewhere in between left and right.
Similarly, every situation has a lot more to it than Side A and Side....Anti-A.
I recently published an entry called Being Mad Doesn't Make You Right, where I attempted to articulate how I felt about the Ottawa protest-turned-occupation. That was somewhere around Day 10 of the situation, and we're now on Day 22ish. I've learned a lot in those days.
Lesson: Politics is confusing. (True fact, though) Provincial rules, federal rules, rules for other countries, it's all one guy's fault (....according to an alarming number of citizens).
Lesson: Reading is tedious for some; it's much easier to jump to the comments section and start jumping at people.
Lesson: A depressing number of people who are fighting for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms have not actually read said document. This number is similar to the amount of people who misunderstand the term "peaceful".
I will stipulate now that the bulk of this personal rant: part deux is based on my own feelings and ideologies. I can not say that I speak for everyone else. And yes, that is indeed a dig at the so-called freedom fighters saying they're acting for all Canadians.
I also want to state that I am not debating the medical efficacy levels of vaccines or pandemic response measures by any country or province. I am not a doctor, or a politician tasked with making decisions for the masses. I am in no way qualified to speak for or against the medical benefits of any medical procedure or directive. It's the same logic that keeps me from trying to fly a plane; I've seen Top Gun but that doesn't qualify me to play with the likes of Goose (RIP) and Maverick. If you want to speak like an expert in any of those areas, please include your credentials when doing so. While it shouldn't have to be said, "I read this article" and "I watched someone who said they were a doctor on YouTube" do not count.
Alright, here's what I really want to talk about.
People participating in or supporting the illegal protest seem to have tunnel vision or blinders on to filter out the 256 shades of gray that some non-supporters are trying to say. Let me lay some gray down here (click to expand each for more).
You can be pro-legal protest, and still anti-whatever this is.
I don't know how to make it any clearer that most (not all) of these showings are not a legal protest. Completely occupying a capital city's core downtown, essentially holding residents hostage, disabling the local businesses who have already been hurt so much in the past two years, keeping residents unable to live their own lives, blocking services and going as far as flooding emergency phone lines on purpose, all of that goes beyond protesting. Similarly, the Coutts and Ambassador Bridge blockades crossed legal lines and did nothing but hurt our own people and economy. Add to that all of the grossness that was carried out by people acting in the protest's name that I ranted about in a previous blog...just nope. Meanwhile, other protests for this and other causes have happened that did NOT require those blockades or impacting peaceful residents....whether I agree or disagree with those ones is irrelevant because at least they were lawful. I have zero beef with the lawful ones, regardless of what I think of the issue.
You can support "truckers", and still be anti-whatever this is.
As far as I know, no one has ever been actually opposed to "truckers" as a people or industry. I respect the heck out of those men and women. It is a hard but essential job, and it's so sad that it's gone from being cheered by the world to becoming the brunt of an embarrassing international joke. It's quite unfortunate, because while the protest was purportedly initiated for a few truckers who claim to have lost their jobs over a vaccine requirement, now it's become about....well, that depends on who you ask? Some say it's still about truckers, or to remove all mandates for everyone everywhere, or for some maybe-not-really-lost freedoms, or to remove elected government, or...I digress. The participants are not "the truckers". There is a very small number of big rig truck drivers who have been joined by many random Canadians in their pickup trucks and sedans, who are then supported by a bunch of at-home keyboard warriors.
You can dislike restrictions/mandates, and STILL be anti-whatever this is.
Listen. Just because I think these protests are a disgusting show of spoiled, entitled, white privilege does not mean I'm 100% in support of all of the mandates/restrictions being protested. I don't like a lot of them, either. I'll even go so far as to admit that I don't always see the logic in all of them, and that I even disagree with some. For example, I am struggling to see the logic in some provinces (remember: provincial, not federal) not permitting unvaccinated patrons in some scenarios, because yes we're alllllllll aware that vaccinated people can spread this virus, too, even without knowledge. We do know this, by the way, stop acting like it's some shattering news flash. Anyway...we're aware. So yeah, I struggle to see the logic in that particular provincial mandate. But here's the thing(s) - I know it's temporary measure. And yeah I know it's been a long time, but there have been a lot of changes in the past two years and we're figuring it out, we'll get there. More importantly, I am aware that if I really wanted to fight that rule, there are tools at my disposal like contacting my local government representatives and taking it from there. My point is that I can dislike the same things you do; but I'm a member of a democratic society and don't need to take other neighbourhoods hostage and have a 3 week long party with pig roasts, bouncy castles, and hot tubs while breaking court injunctions about it.
You can be pro-vaccine, and also respect the right to choose.
I am unequivocally pro-vaccine, for myself. I'm very happy that polio isn't a thing. Science is very cool, and factual, and I respect that. I also get that some people are against a requirement forcing people to get one to be able to do some things (again: mostly provincial). I will admit that I don't think I'll ever understand why you wouldn't...I've yet to be given a sound argument based on legitimate science, but that's a whole separate rant. For THIS rant, let's stick with I understand your right to say no to that. I don't get mad about that. You have to see though, how someone might get irritated with you if they've done their tiny part in a global pandemic while you've decided that doctors and scientists are just wrong or lying, but you want the same privileges as them. Be real here, at that point you're the kid in school who didn't participate in any group project meetings, didn't do any of the work, but wants to share the grade. Nobody likes that kid. Now, we also have to consider that every free choice comes with consequences. That's just life. You are free to choose to get, or not get, a vaccine. Both of those choices have consequences. I know that really sucks to hear some times, and I completely get the frustration around it. I also get that being told "it's temporary" wears thin after a while. Please trust that everyone is frustrated. My point is just that while I don't understand why you don't want a vaccine and think you know more than highly trained specialists, I can respect your choice to not do it. But in turn, you should respect not getting the temporary benefits that come along with it.
You can be non-violent, and still be non-peaceful.
This goes back to the first gray area, about legal protests vs. this. I fully agree that (as of this moment, while writing) there has been little to no violence at these protests. And yes, that is a good thing. The lack of brutality does not make it a peaceful protest. If you're reading this, you've likely seen the posts and articles describing the noise decibels and the potential physical and mental trauma of Ottawa residents from sustained exposure. Combined with lack of sleep. Then consider the emotional impacts on people from seeing the hateful signs like those comparing "freedom fighters" to veterans who actually fought with their lives for legitimate freedom, and comparing Canada/Justin Trudeau to Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler, which is just......I....I can't even start. Just, you're disgusting and require much help. I can't even sugar coat that one. If you're comparing temporarily requiring proof of vaccination so you can eat at the Olive Garden to LITERALY GENOCIDE OF AN ENTIRE PEOPLE, you're gross. And if you're supporting the same cause as anyone doing that, you should check yourself because you're, at best, gross-adjacent. And yes, that includes you, Elon Musk.
So, how can you paint all of the protesters in one light, isn't there a gray area there, too?
Ah yes, excellent question, fictional reader. It would seem as if the fair thing to do would be to extend this gray coloured olive branch to protesters/protest supporters, right? Yes, but....no. Here are some key things that are, indeed, black and white.
The law is indeed black and white. Some of the current protesters may have the absolute best intentions. I may even support some of those intentions. But the fact remains that it's been no secret that these occupations were going to get busted up soon. Court injunctions were filed. And broken. And extended. And broken. And that's just for the sheer noise. Notices were shared via the Prime Minister and local law enforcement that it was time to move, and go, or face consequences. Days notice. On social media, news agencies, and hand delivered papers. If you were there anytime after February 16th (ish, very rough broad estimate) you were there in literal defiance of legal court orders. That's no gray area. You knew shit was going down, and you chose to insert yourself for it. That doesn't make you a martyr, it makes you a drama queen.
If you align with white supremacists, without saying anything white supremacist-ey yourself, you're still a shitty person Yeah I hear you, "he doesn't speak for everyone"....I hear you. But here's the thing - he literally does speak for your group and movement. He IS the voice of your movement. You might have chosen to hop on board for real and legitimate reasons, but the fact remains that your cause's self appointed spokesperson and organizer is indeed a racist sack of shiitake mushrooms. So maybe YOU'RE not (I mean, you think you aren't). But, at this point, three weeks in, you've chosen to side with him. Your shirt can be as white as snow but when you dive in mud, you get dirty. It is what it is, you've chosen, now deal with the consequences and perceptions that go along with that choice. Also.... may I point out that protestors saying "he doesn't speak for all of us" is especially amusing because it's LITERALLY WHAT THE REST OF CANADA HAS BEEN SAYING ABOUT YOU. One last point out...if you're reading this and know who Pat King is, but don't understand why I'm calling him a white supremacist piece of crap, then please let me know so I can welcome you to your first day on the Internet and show you how to Google. (If you don't know who he is, feel free to save your time and energy and just don't.)
I've said it before; I'll say it again: We're all frustrated.
We can be lonely, and struggling, and downright mad...but that does not give a right to compare our struggles to that of an entire group of people who were put into gas chambers. On behalf of marginalized and minority humans everywhere, please check your shit before deciding anyone is in violation of your rights to the extent that they were for Nazi-Germany levels, k-please-thanks.
I know that everyone fighting feels that this is the good fight. I don't agree with you, but, that's okay. You should at least acknowledge that your participation deems certain response. The police response (as of the time of this writing) is very tame, proportionate, and less than what was warned of in written notices. It's also less than any response for any genocidal situation that your own supporters have compared your situation to, so....just stop.
"There are children there."
Why TF are there children there?? Get your kids OUT of there! Why would you put your kids in that situation?
As far as I know, no one else in the history of tear-gassing has ever been given a month's notice that it might happen. And do not say that it was on my behalf, because, no. In any case, please don't act surprised if it happens, after weeks of notice that it was going to happen.
At the end of the day, I believe that any reasonable person on either "side" can agree that things aren't great. People participating in the protests might want things (that may or may not be already happening, but, hey), people mad about protests want/don't want things, politicians and health professionals want things that may or may not agree with each other, etc. My ultimate point is that there are usually a lot of things to be considered. No one person or view is 100% accurate. Even if it was, it would never be perceived as such.
There are multiple sides, and each side has countless perspectives. And every one of them thinks they're correct.
It would be very great if we each did our part to share our parts with integrity and kindness instead of anarchy and hatred but hey, what do I know. :)
This opinion piece is missing at least 324 considerations so I do have to just to stop it here, recognizing that this is incomplete and a view in progress.
It is what is it is.
Just....please always remember that there are at least 256 shades of gray to whatever image or story you're seeing. Look through the gray to see what's really going on.
Warning: I to respond to or acknowledge each comment.
Another note: I'm SUPER hoping that this doesn't age well and that by the time anyone reads it, the Ottawa occupation is completely over and we can move on to dealing with the years of consequences. I would prefer that over this being relevant for long.