“Don’t you dare wag your finger at me,” is the first thought many Canadians have when it comes to politicians lecturing citizens during coronavirus lockdown.
It seems like every day we’re hearing of more and more elected officials who haven’t followed the international-travel policy set out by the federal government. It’s led to resignations and demotions of a growing list of public servants at various levels across the country. And, rightly so.
“Lead by example” is a phrase we heard a lot when we were growing up. Another one was, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Well, how’s that working for us as a nation?
Since the pandemic started, I’ve written several columns about coronavirus. Oftentimes they are directed at the government. Here’s a sampling of what my commentaries were called:
- March 23, 2020- ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ during coronavirus spread
- May 6, 2020- Coronavirus contradictions lead people to make their own decisions
- Oct. 12, 2020- Is the government helping spread coronavirus?
- Nov. 30, 2020- Contradicting coronavirus messaging isn’t helping us
So, when I see a crying premier (though I failed to see any actual tears, Mr. Pallister) or a stern-talking Ford in Ontario laying into the “irresponsible” actions of their constituents, the table has turned and we shout right back at them, “Get rid of your rule breakers.”
True, elected officials are voted by the public so they can’t be “fired” by a premier, but they sure can be stripped of their duties and promotions. And, indeed, they have been, but that doesn’t do anything to ease the minds of a concerned public.
See, my first few columns when the pandemic started were about how we as a public were seemingly turning on each other. I recalled going to a store for the first time and people giving me a side glare because I cleared my throat. I remember people steering clear of me and avoiding me, as if I were diseased and entirely contagious. It bothered me. And I stated I didn’t want to live in a world like that.
Gradually, we saw a shift to the us-versus-them mentality. We, the people, went back to calling the shots for ourselves and ignoring the higher-ups in public office. Yes, legislative bodies were making health orders in the interest of the people, but little respect was given to the leaders relaying the information. Now, we see that we weren’t misguided in our distrust of them.
So, what’s the resolution? The offending parties step down from their roles. The premiers are embarrassed their own teams haven’t followed the rules. The public continues doing what it wants with little regard for those calling the shots.
Why were people so excited for that dumpster-fire-of-a-year to be over? Seems like it’s already the same ol’, same ol’ in 2021.