Oh Canada…

Oh Canada. Sigh. 
2020 will be a year to remember alright. I feel like it’s the Spring Break you wish you could forget minus the Spring Break. 
Who knew we were capable of panicking like little girls (I’m allowed to say that because I’ve fathered four of them:). 
Who knew we’d ever believe everything we watched on the news?
Who knew we’d actually read what every FB troll ranted about while they shamed a husband and wife for walking too close to each other on a sidewalk?
Who knew we could shut a nation down and declare the equivalent to Marshal Law over a NOT war?
Who knew we would hand over our religious freedom and say “Thank you but we didn’t really appreciate it anyway”. 
Who knew we would become prisoners of the mob? 
My grandfathers must be having a laugh on the other side. One came from the Ukraine where it took soldiers with guns to take away freedom and the other had Irish roots, and would just enjoy the sight of someone tying their bootlaces together and trying to step off the front deck. 
My daughter Neela is eleven and was likely wondering why people were suddenly afraid of making eye contact with each other? How going to the grocery store for food is somehow much safer than going to church if we used the same hand sanitizer? Or how the liquor and vape stores were essential to human life but everything else that was actually essential was not? 
“Dad, why are people so crazy right now? And what’s vaping??”
Me (softly weeping) “I don’t knooooooowwww”. (I do know what vaping is). 
I’m done ranting and have decided that the only thing worse than stepping on a rake is stepping on a rake and not having a good laugh about why you left it in the yard in the first place. 
We put the covid kitchen fire out alright. We locked the windows and doors and filled the house with water, but we got the fire out! Congratulations everyone who didn’t drown! 
I think the only creature flourishing right now is the family dog.
I ordered some cheap Diesel shirts that the powers that be deemed non essential and waited like six weeks while friends ordered seventy four chew toys for their dog that arrived ten minutes after they clicked “Confirm Order”. 
The dogs have done well. Never before have they been the sole purpose of the family’s existence, up until a few months ago they thought they rated just under the smallest child on the totem pole, or possibly dad’s truck if there was a conflict of interests. 
Now they know for certain that their families depended upon them for personal sanity and that when they didn’t perform well to “Dance Monkey” the yelling started back up as their humans drowned in the misconceptions that they were capable of being civilized with each other. 
I also realized personally that handing my wife and daughters a rock called “It’s your job to make me happy during covid” gets a bit heavy. I carry it now. 
I’m not sure some people have yet had the thought that there must be some acceptable risk in life or there is not.. um … a life? 
AND, if I may be so bold, the proper way to live like a coward is to keep oneself indoors and out of sight rather than telling everyone else to stay off the roads because “People die out there and I don’t want it to be me you horrible monsters so stay at home!!!”. 
My dad told me he wanted to see his grandkids during covid and I let him. Was that unlawful? Put me in jail if it was because I’m not living in a country where he’s not allowed to decide that for himself. Also my mom would’ve killed me and I’d rather be safe in prison. 
“But your kids could have passed it to him and he could have died!”
Naw. He’s healthy as a horse and knows when it’s his time to go it’s his time. He’s also been overseas dozens of times for foreign aid help in poor countries where statistically he had roughly a million times more chance of dying anyways. 
What’s next? Me installing cameras outside of his house to make sure he wears his jacket in the winter? Sure. People enjoy being treated like four year olds. Better yet I’ll tell his neighbour to keep a close eye on him and yell every time he emerges “For his own safety”. 
Once again, prison is a better option than being murdered by your Irish mom. 
“Son” he said “Haven’t I earned the right to die yet?”. 
That’s tough to argue with and I decided I would rather not risk losing everything he taught me about the freedom his dad came here to find by deciding FOR him that he didn’t deserve it anymore. 
The last time I checked it wasn’t a crime to get sick and die. 
I had the convo with him. I decided there was more risk for my kids driving there than being there, mostly because I don’t believe everything every knucklehead says online. 
Also statistically its been pointed out that the average age of covid deaths in Alberta is 83 and average life expectancy is 82 so…. Um… we gained a year?
My heart hurts for every covid death too, but not more than it does for any other cause of death that none of us seemed to care about, or the multiplied deaths brought on by our reaction. I talked to a man who lost three friends in a week to overdoses brought on by the shutdown. But they were drug users so they deserved it? 
Whatever, call me a horrible monster and turn me in to the covid police, but I’d make a beautiful martyr on the altar of human rights and my kid’s grandma would come and find you, and you do NOT want that to happen. 
“God keep our land glorious and …” What’s that other word?
Free. 
Fear did it. Not Covid. Fear kills freedom. 
I realized my first job was to help people deal with their internal fear. Did our leaders know that when you play the fear card you can’t unplay it? They know now. In every conversation I was positive and let my raw belief shine that I learned from my father, and he from his. 
“Everything is going to be ok. Relax. What’s the actual safety issue? Deal with that. Don’t stop living.”
Unreasoning, illogical fear brings rage and all sorts of removal of freedom and justice. Even the racial injustice is birthed mostly in fear that somebody who doesn’t look like you or talk like you can’t quite be anticipated or trusted. 
So join me as I relax enough for the logic centres of my brain to engage once again and remember that people died for this freedom we gave up for fear of catching the flu. 
The bible says “Perfect love casts out fear”. So I guess working on loving my neighbour is the best defence. And to love them properly I can’t be afraid OF them or FOR them. 
Let’s rise and build on the old foundations. Some of the building came down but perhaps the old generosity and fearlessness of our forebears could rise this Canada Day. 
Oh Canada, here’s to a bright future of dim bulbs with sharp senses of humour:) 

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