• Maria APG

Welcome 2021! I think...

It's 2021 and I don't have much to say about it so far in light of what's happening south of our border in the United States of America.

It feels like 2020 is carrying over into 2021 and that not much has changed as far as new year resolutions and hope for the year ahead is concerned. We are still on restricted activities outside the home, our circles have to remain small and the vaccine is far from being administered to the general population.

As if this wasn't enough, add to it the fact that some health officials are deciding, by themselves, that's it's okay not to follow the instructions provided by the issuing laboratory, in this case the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines which require two doses administered several weeks apart. Both companies say the efficacy of their vaccines is 95 per cent, under these conditions. Health officials are now proposing forgoing the second shot so they can wait and see how long the first shot lasts before the second shot needs to be administered. In plain English, we are being used to test the vaccine, without ever volunteering to do so.

I have no issues with getting vaccinated, but I do have an issue with the proposed changes to the way the vaccine doses are to be administered in some parts of the country. Quebec's suggestion that the vaccine is effective much longer than the time suggested by the laboratories that designed the vaccines, without the second dose being administered 20 days later, is like playing Russian roulette with people's lives. It's crazy to suggest this idea has merit when the drug companies are voicing a negative reaction to the proposed changes.

This doctor needs a reality check. He needs to face the reality that a great number of people don't trust vaccines so when a medical official is playing around with a vital vaccine dose, going against the drug company's advice, it does nothing to assure them that these officials can be trusted to make the right decisions. It serves instead as confirmation that their theories were correct, that medical officials can't be trusted with vaccines.

Then there's the chaos happening in the United States. Words fail me...this is not the US we knew four years ago? I've driven across the US several times, from the West Coast to the East Coast, North and South, I've seen 95% of the US of A. As you can imagine, two women travelling in a van with a small dog, under Beautiful British Columbia license plates, we attracted a lot of attention.

Along the way we had to stop in Kansas to visit a vet because King Ben had been bitten by the largest flee I had ever seen. It just so happened that this vet clinic was involved in a play of the Wizard of Oz. King Ben was a Cairn Terrier, had a beautiful coat (so the vet said) and would be perfect for the part. Would I be willing to hang around until the play was finished, the vet asked?

Our next notable adventure was in Tennessee where we stopped for a meal. We entered this food bar and were served pretty much right away. The server gave us plates and told us to help ourselves. Because the restaurant was quite full, and because no one else seemed to be serving themselves at the food bar, we looked around the room for answers. We were the only white people in this establishment and everyone was staring at us. What could've been a tricky situation turned into a comical, enjoyable afternoon. We learned a lot in the two hours spent there, made friends we are still in contact with, and have wonderful memories of how welcoming everyone was after they discovered we were from Canada.

Now we're in Louisiana and I'm waiting for a parking spot that is being vacated, have my signal on to indicate that I'm turning in to the spot and out of nowhere comes a pick up truck that slides into the spot I had been waiting for. This made me angry and I got out of the car, like I would in Canada, and told off the driver. As I'm doing that, in the back seat area I spot a rack full of guns, proudly displayed like trophies. Threw my hands up in the air and walked away, frustrated beyond belief at the rudeness of this man.

The point I'm trying to make is that the American people we mostly encountered were good, friendly folks. They love to chat about the differences between Canada and the US. Especially when we were at that only black restaurant in Tennessee (it's insane an all black restaurant even exists in this day and age). I personally don't look at a persons skin so it was a rude awakening to see it happening before my eyes and not in a movie. Then the guy with a rack of guns in his truck showed up in Louisiana, and this is when we realised we were not home, this was definitely another country and we didn't feel safe anymore. Still, we continued on our trip, a little more cautious than we had been up to that point, and met many more wonderful folks across the US. So what in the world is going on south of us now? Where has the United States of America's decency gone?

If 2021 is starting off in this vein called intolerance, I want 2020 back. My heart can't take watching anymore of the news, it's all so devastatingly sad south of our border. It's like watching your best friend self destruct and you can't do anything to stop them.

Let's smarten up and take control of 2021 to make this world be what we want it to be. Hatred and intolerance are not in vogue. We must drown those negative voices with affirmations of what is good and decent by what we do for others and how we treat them. Fight hatred and intolerance with kindness and understanding.

Let's make 2021 the year of love and kindness.

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