Take a chill pill - Shawn Loughlin editorial
As the pandemic drags on, people seem to be getting in touch with their angry side. Here at The Citizen in the last few months we’ve received a number of letters from people that are just dripping with rage. Some we’ve published, others we haven’t and a portion have been little love notes for us.
Lacking a font to denote sarcasm, hopefully you picked up on the fact that what we’ve received have not exactly been love notes. We have certainly received more than our fair share of compliments, thanking us for our work throughout the pandemic, but it seems like hardly a week goes by without someone taking time out of their day (time they clearly have too much of) to berate us, complaining about this or that. And while, no, we are not perfect, I can’t help but think this uptick in criticism is misplaced anger.
The pandemic is getting to people. For most, it seems they are getting tired of all this. And I understand. It was just under a year ago that COVID-19 made landfall into our lives. For many reasons, the virus is still a part of our lives one year later and things promise to remain far from normal for some time.
The flip side of correspondence received here at The Citizen has been from the people who deny the very existence of the pandemic.
Poorly educated conspiracy theorists have felt it appropriate to take time out of their days to bother me and others at this office with their junk science, fake news and accusations of collusion. This includes frequent notes from someone who continually attempts to claw at our integrity, suggesting we all reside in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pocket.
Anyway, I’m sliding a little sideways here and this is threatening to turn into another airing of grievances column. The point is that people are mad. They are very, very mad.
Late last year, as an unsettling finale to a year most were happy to hit with the door on the way out, we ran a story about diminishing mental and physical health in the region as a result of the pandemic. While the report didn’t specifically get into this, failing mental health can lead to this kind of anger. When I think of declining mental health, I always think of depression, but anger can be a definite factor.
No doubt the state of the world is taking its toll on us all – in one way or another. This just isn’t the way we’re supposed to live our lives, but times have changed and we need to change with them to stay safe and show that respect to our loved ones, friends and neighbours.
This anger that’s bubbling within us isn’t new. During the first lockdown, it was a factor in the sudden rush to appreciate essential workers like grocery store employees, gas station attendants, postal workers, etc. Not only were they out there every day, putting themselves in harm’s way so the rest of us didn’t have to be, but they were often on the receiving end of this anger. When someone bought up a store’s supply of toilet paper, hand sanitizer or flour they weren’t standing there. However, right in front of a disappointed shopper, a cashier certainly was, and more often than not, it seemed they got an earful.
You might be angry, but remember that the person on the other side of the phone/counter/computer/letter to the editor is likely just as angry as you are. The only difference is that they’re handling it a lot better than you are. So, let’s all try and control ourselves and look at the rest of the world and the people around you like the human beings they are, rather than punching bags there to make you feel better.
The world doesn’t revolve around you, after all. We’d all be well served to remember that.