Government threats make people say ‘screw you’

As the coronavirus crisis continues to dominate every screen in your home, the messaging from our leaders has taken an aggressive tone. And I don’t like how they’re talking to us.

A week ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seemed compassionate and saddened by what was happening to his country. Days later, he came out threatening his people.

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When this social distancing (or “physical distancing”) thing started, the politicians and scientists asked us to follow their suggestions. Some people did, some people didn’t. The suggestions have since become rules and the government has taken an aggressive tone.

During a press conference, Trudeau said people could get jail time or face up to a $750,000 fine for not following self-distancing/isolation requirements.

Jail would put you in an open-air cell in close quarters with other people which is the exact opposite of self isolation. A fine is unreasonable since you wouldn’t be able to pay even if you still had a job and could go to work. Brilliant. Those options are going to scare me into following the rules? People scoffed at the idea and said, “Bring it on” and quickly poked holes at the possibility of enforcement.

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I lose respect for a government when it threatens me. I flashback five years ago when I got a letter informing me that I was violating a by-law by not having handrails on my front stairs. I was given a few weeks to have some installed or else I would face a $1,000 fine and/or six months in lockup. Seriously.

I was defiant for several months and didn’t abide by the order. They sent a by-law officer to followup and I simply said I was getting quotes from places. I told him that anybody could go to my side door if they couldn’t handle the four front steps.

Really, I was testing the limits. I could afford the $1,000 fine, sure; and I was certain they wouldn’t throw me in the slammer over handrails.

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When I’m on the receiving end of something so aggressive based on a rule I don’t even know exists, it makes me resent the system. It makes me say to the government, “Screw you” and give it the finger. (Thinking, “Don’t you have anything better to do with your time? There are actual criminals out there ruining our communities and you’re worried about handrails.”)

I confronted the elected officials and expressed my dislike of their messaging. I was told it would be reviewed. (I don’t know if it was ever changed.)

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It’s understandable that the government needs to take a stand when there’s a global health crisis but it should also realize that not everybody’s going to follow rules set out. If they did, those jail cells would be empty, right?

I’m not suggesting people give the finger to social distancing, I just want the government to lighten the tone. Perhaps if it was nicer, people would respect what’s put forth. Remember, this has thrown everybody for a loop and it takes time to adjust.

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