Up is now down, black is white - Keith Roulston editorial
It’s a stressful time to live in, where even certainties, like black being black and up being up, seem up for debate.
Last week in Ottawa, for instance, eight months after anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate protesters gridlocked parts of downtown Ottawa, a public inquiry opened its hearings as it probes the federal government's unprecedented use of emergency powers to clear the capital – a hearing that’s expected to last six weeks. It will examine the government’s declaration of the Emergencies Act to clear protesters who had shut down the capital for weeks with their noisy occupation. For the majority of Canadians, the question is probably why the government didn’t act sooner, not whether declaring the never-before-used act made sense.
Meanwhile, Danielle Smith, the recent winner of the leadership of the United Conservative Party, and therefore Premier of Alberta, (even though she has no seat in the provincial legislature), in her first news conference took a shot at COVID-19 mandates requiring people to be vaccinated in order to do some activities.
Throughout her leadership campaign Smith took up the cause of the unvaccinated. In that, she joined federal Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre who pointedly met with vaccine opponents throughout their protests.
While these critics make it seem like the whole concern about COVID-19 was overblown, Dr. Andre Picard, who writes regularly about health issues in The Globe and Mail recently gave the opposite view. People who remain unvaccinated for the disease, he wrote, are seven times as likely to be hospitalized, and eight times as likely to die. Such statistics are likely to be disbelieved by the anti-vaccine crowd, who will maintain their own views no matter what opposing proof might be offered.
Meanwhile, south of the border, the whole “was Donald Trump cheated?” debate goes on. No matter how much proof is offered, no matter how many former aides of Donald Trump or White House aides testify that he knew he had lost the 2020 presidential vote, polls still show 70 per cent of Republicans think he won the election. After all, he says it day after day after day! His sycophants, whether they believe it or not, know that courting his favour appears good for their own electoral success.
Meanwhile, a Connecticut jury decided last week that eight plaintiffs should be paid $965 million compensatory damages by Infowars founder Alex Jones for his claims that the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school never happened. In real life, the Sandy Hook shooting killed 20 first graders and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut.
Yet during his broadcast last week, Jones claimed the trial was “all made up” and asked his audience to send him money to help pay the judgement, claiming he has no money – even though an earlier estimate was that he had a net worth of $250 million.
Meanwhile, despite ample TV and newspaper coverage at the time, the parents of the children killed, who had already suffered the pain, beyond what most of us could have fathomed, of seeing their young children killed, also were forced to deal with abuse heaped on them by Jones’s devotees. Some of these swore that these people were faking the entire shooting. One parent heard people threaten to dig up the body of his dead child to prove he had not been shot!
Speaking of not believing your eyes, of course, a famous example was the people who denied the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City. Television pictures showed the two airliners, under the command of suicidal Muslim rebels, crashing into both Twin Towers in New York but there were still people who claimed it was really a hoax on the public.
But then, a few years ago, I read in National Geographic magazine of annual meetings of the Flat Earth Society. Despite it being more than 50 years since humans first walked on the moon, despite the experience of dozens of people who have circled the earth on the space shuttle and taken photos of the spherical world out the window, there are still several thousand people who believe it is all a con job and the earth is really flat. National Geographic wrote that they actually come together in conventions every year.
Extreme as they are, the people who believe the world is flat make it understandable that some people will believe almost anything, no matter what proof you provide in an attempt to change their mind. It’s just easier to believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is a hoax or Donald Trump actually won the last election. Just how far people are willing to go is shown by those who think the Sandy Hook massacre was actually a massive con job by the anti-gun activists.
Still, it’s a hard lesson for those of us who like to think the truth will make you free.