Emily Jaycox editorial Bashaw

COLUMN: Are you awake yet?


In the past 10 months of the pandemic, when fear and misinformation have been running rampant, it was often more appropriate and helpful, I’d hoped, to write messages of encouragement rather than scathing political denouncements or doom-filled musings.

People have already been dealing with enough negativity and mental health is fragile for many. While that is true, and also important, there comes a point when positivity can be toxic; when it allows one to bury their head in the sand.

I’ve just finished reading the excellent Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. Although it has many virtues I could extol about the skill of the storytelling, the gist of the line relevant to this discussion was: those who foretell of disaster are always disbelieved.

In the novels, which are loosely based on the history and geography of ancient Greece, though the events and characters are the author’s own, a newly crowned king prepares diligently for the enemy he knows is coming, despite derision and mocking from his citizens. He is disbelieved until the enemy is at their doors and it is all but too late.

Although a work of fiction, reviewing our own world history, we can see this phenomenon to be true. One example that comes immediately to mind is Appeasement, which did nothing to stop Hitler from seizing more power and advancing his war.

There is danger is dwelling in delusion.

Why? Because denial does nothing to prevent disaster.

The ongoing pandemic and the latest Trump madness in the States highlights this danger.

The insurrection of Trump Supporters storming the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6 was so surreal as to feel nothing short of apocalyptic. And yes, I say Trump supporters.

Rather than fuzzy images re-Tweeted over the Internet, I’ll trust the investigations of the FBI and the photos taken by Associated Press reporters on the ground that successfully led to arrests.

READ MORE: Records show fervent Trump fans fuelled U.S. Capitol takeover

If the president’s own words, on video, telling supporters to march with him, aren’t enough for you to believe he incited the people and caused what followed, intended or not, other evidence is mounting as investigations continue.

It has been confirmed that participants in the riot included Republican party officials, white supremacists, Republican party donors, and followers of the bizarre QAnon conspiracy.

Trump has fed these radicals since he first campaigned for office, fanning the flames of racism, sexism, extremism, or any other group he could inflame to gather support for himself. It is his poisonous leadership over the years that has allowed these sentiments to grow and fester, and which formed the mob last week, that flocked to him when called upon.

They came, because they allowed themselves to be deceived by his rhetoric and lies, half-truths and untruths.

Even in Canada, Trump has adamant supporters. It’s this kind of willful ignorance that should concern everyone, as that is how civilization eventually collapses.

It is this same kind of willful ignorance that fuels anti-maskers and COVID-19 deniers.

On Jan. 10, Ontario reported a daily record of 3,945 new COVID-19 cases. The only thing from keeping Alberta turning into Ontario, and Canada from turning into the States, which has reached a total death toll of 323,148 according to the CDC, is the measures put in place early, to try to contain the spread.

MLA Ron Orr stated in his column this week “The worst thing we could do right now is increase chances of another wave of cases that would, in turn, jeopardize our healthcare system.”

READ MORE: MLA Ron Orr: ‘The worst thing we could do right now is increase chances of another wave’

Believe what you will of the Alberta government, or how they are handling the response to COVID-19: Orr isn’t wrong that we can’t afford to not take this seriously.

UCP MLAs taking out-of-country vacations is not evidence that the pandemic is not real, or is some kind of conspiracy to control the populace. What it is, is elected officials ignoring their own advice, because like everyone else, they are tired of the restrictions.

Perhaps those particular MLAs don’t personally feel COVID-19 is much of a threat or maybe they even thought the rules didn’t apply to them, but that doesn’t mean the whole pandemic is a lie.

They, like everyone else, are fallible and aren’t immune to the same weariness, mental fatigue and the weakness that makes one retreat into denial rather than facing problems head on. As they have a responsibiliy to set an example, they made a grave error in judgment.

The virus is here, it’s real, and it’s causing damage.

Being realistic about the threat the virus poses if left unchecked is not fear-mongering, it is prudent.

Denying the facts? Touting the banner of personal freedoms and complaining your rights are being violated? Subscribing to all the fringe theories and becoming initiated to the cesspit of lies on the so-called dark web? Now that is the real face of fear, desperately trying to comfort itself.

Sometimes comfort is called for, and sometimes people just need to wake up.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Albertans need to keep making safe choices to start bending the curve back down. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, 257 additional cases province-wide

Red Deer sits at 459 active cases of the virus

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday that the province may consider a regional approach to loosening COVID-19 restrictions if numbers continue to decline. (photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Province further easing health restrictions

Numbers of people hospitalized and in intensive care has dropped dramatically, says premier

Dr. Stanley Read
Hometown Bashaw doctor recognized with alumni award for AIDS work

Dr. Stanley Read, born and raised in Bashaw, is considered a global health leader

File photo
Alberta’s central zone has 670 active cases

301 new cases identified Sunday

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
UPDATED: Located

Kenneth Gilbert was last seen in Camrose County on Feb. 25

A health-care worker looks at a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Palais de Congress site as Quebec begins mass vaccinations based on age across the province, Monday, March 1, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Nearly 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses arriving in Canada this week: Anand

Anita Anand says she’s received assurances from the vaccine manufacturer

The call is out in Rimbey to sign on with a group that is all about building connections

‘Already, we are building a network where we can rely on each other and help each other out’

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks about the Fiscal update during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Chrystia Freeland says now is not time to lower levels of support

Samantha Sharpe, 25, was stabbed to death at Sunchild First Nation on Dec. 12, 2018. Chelsey Lagrelle was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for manslaughter in a Red Deer courtroom on Tuesday. Photo contributed
Central Alberta woman sentenced to 4 1/2 years for stabbing friend to death in 2018

Chelsey Lagrelle earlier pleaded guilty to stabbing Samantha Sharpe during argument

Calgary police say they received 80 hate crime complaints between January and November 2020. (Pixabay)
‘Racism is a real problem:’ Muslim women fearful following attacks in Edmonton

So far in 2021, three of seven hate-crime-related investigations have involved Somali-Muslim women

Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro speaks during a news conference in Calgary on May 29, 2020. Shandro says Alberta is considering whether to extend the time between COVID-19 vaccine shots to four months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta may follow B.C.’s lead on faster rollout of first COVID-19 dose

Tyler Shandro says a committee of COVID-19 experts is analyzing emerging data and a decision is coming

A locally-produced video project aims to preserve Canada’s railway history

‘Railways have been an integral part of Canadian history since 1836’

Ryan Jake Applegarth of Ponoka, 28, is scheduled to appear at Ponoka Provincial Court on March 12, 2021. (File photo)
Discussions about justice continue as Ponoka murder victim’s case proceeds

Reaction to comments Ponoka Staff Sgt. Chris Smiley made to town council last month

Most Read