Leaders, Elders, Losers


‘What do you expect from politicians?’ Camp asked shaking his head

‘It’s not wisdom or learnedness, not even fairness or correctness but simple honesty would be a good start. Do they ever admit to being wrong, having made the wrong decision, taken the wrong side, being fooled by a good story?’ I said.

‘No, they’re never wrong. They can read from their teleprompters until they go off script like Trump and his advice to inject detergent and ultra violet light to kill the virus. I wish he would have demonstrated this on himself.’

‘Let’s face it, most western countries were caught flat footed and since they were neither prepared to test and treat nor had a plan or any kind of emergency response, they opted for the only default tool available: total lockdown of all social and economic activity. ‘Everybody stay home until we figure this out,’ seems to be the strategy and the local mantra: ‘Stay home, stay calm and stay save, oh yeah and be kind,’ Camp said, taking a swig from his can of beer.’ Supporting the local breweries,’ he added.

‘Our leaders are not politicians but doctors and scientists, teachers and nurses, store clerks and delivery people. You were in politics Camp. What made you do it?’

‘I wanted some changes that I believed were for the good of the community. Certainly not for personal gain. There is no money in being a town counsellor or a district director. I might stand again but this time I would fight for getting private enterprise out of care homes. Caring for our old is not a business but an obligation. Stop Trellis Senior Care, a private provider, who the government chose to build our new Care facility here against the united will of the local residents. And I would advocate to invest in more home care, to keep our parents in their homes longer. This covid-19 really is pointing the spotlight on the way we treat our elders. We put our parents in these ghetto-like facilities, staff them with the lowest paid care givers and keep them alive. Is there honour and dignity in that?’

‘Not all homes are like that,’ I said, but you’re basically right,’ ‘I’m just glad that I don’t have parents in care homes any more,’ I said.

‘Nobody wants to end up in one of those homes, not me, no you, nobody.’

‘I have to say we’re lucky to live in BC,’ I said, trying to be positive. ‘We have the friendliest and most human face for this nasty pandemic right here. I’m talking about Dr. Bonnie Henry. She probably never thought that she was going to be the most popular face on TV in all of Canada and beyond,’ I said.

‘I agree, she is remarkable. Calm, sensible, smart and personable.’

‘And kind,’ I said. ‘Intrinsically Canadian. Kind.’

‘We still have over 5000 empty hospital beds, thousands of surgeries cancelled and suicides, domestic violence and depression on the rise at an alarming rate. It’s time to return to some sort of normalcy. The curve is flattened and there is no general community spread,’ Camp said, slapping his knee.

‘Yes, but over 14,000 surgeries were performed in the past 2 months and many businesses did remain open, including clothing, book and corner stores. Only bars, pubs, restaurants and public venues and of course schools and universities were closed. If it wouldn’t be for the weird physical distancing and latent suspicion of people wearing masks in public, it would almost feel normal,’ I said.

‘New Zealand says they’ve got it under control as well as Australia and are going back to normal life: rugby, cricket, restaurants, gyms, businesses. Be vigilant and control the borders.’

‘Well, New Zealand has that 3000 mile moat around it. I’d just like to know what the strategy is here,’ Camp said. Is it to eliminate the virus? Lockdown until we have a vaccine? I thought it was about not overwhelming the healthcare system.’

‘I know and people are getting fed up sitting at home.’

‘It’s called lockdown fatigue.’

‘Well, the good news is while the Kiwis and Aussies are going back to normal, the Austrians the Danes and even the Swiss are opening up their economies and this is the Swiss moto: As fast as possible and as safe as necessary. You can buy the T-shirt in French, German and Italian.’

‘You can buy shoes here with Henry’s motto on the soles. Be kind, be calm and be safe.’

‘Not much beer in these cans,’ Camp said. ‘I’m glad I brought two.’

‘Oh, I thought this one was for me.’

‘We’ll share.’

‘That’s not safe.’

‘You’re right. Sorry, buddy.’

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