Parallel Universes

            ‘There seems to be two narratives, two diametrically opposed points of view and two information sources: The established television media like the BBC, CNN, MSNBC and the CBC and CTV here in Canada vs: FOX News and a whole slew of social media news outlets and new cable networks like News Max and One America News,’ I said as soon as we were comfortably ensconced in our chairs. Very few customers these days and I’m surprised how the pubs can keep going in this time of Covid restrictions and pandemic fears.

            ‘Come on my friend,’ Camp said, ‘there are traditional networks and news outlets that rely on facts, observation, research and honest reporting and then there are those who spout views and make claims not based on facts and research but are simply propaganda outlets. They claim that The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Economist or any number of European News Outlets and dailies have it all wrong and are part of a worldwide communist conspiracy. According to them, the thousands of elections officials and vote counters all across the USA are in on this cabal to oust the only true leader of the free world and have stolen the election. It’s hard to acknowledge that millions of people actually believe that,’ Camp said, shaking his head in disbelieve. ‘Not only are they convinced that these dangerous and baseless theories are real but they do not want to listen, to discuss or hear any other point of view. It’s like bad religion, like a cult and despite the facts and the obvious evidence and proof to the contrary, they do not want to hear the truth.’

             ‘They claim impingement on their freedoms and choices, they claim the constitution, which they never read, as the base for their skewed beliefs.’

            ‘Except, where their freedom ends, mine begins,’ Camp pointed out. ‘Getting a vasectomy or a haircut, a Botox treatment or even an abortion are choices about one’s body and then there are rules of conduct and behaviour in a civilized society like speed limits and the fact that we all drive on the same side of the road and we all follow schedules and rules that apply to all. But when you have a potentially infectious illness, it behooves you to protect yourself and me from transmitting it. Wearing a mask is not a political statement but an act of curtesy, respect and good practice.’

            ‘It’s not just that we have differing opinions about the same process and the same facts. No, they completely disregard the facts and proofs and replace them with a set of their own made-up data which suits their world view. They are simply wrong and willfully ignorant. Hard to argue with people like that.’

            ‘Like how do you argue with a suicide bomber? Threaten to kill him? How do you convince a believer in baseless conspiracies that there is actually a real and truthful version of the same world that the majority of people share? Good people doing good things for good reasons. That’s most everybody, everywhere.’

            ‘There is the world of fiction which includes dreams, fantasy, fairy tales, and wishful thinking. Then there is the real world, which is made up of facts, science, common sense and proof which we can interpret differently but we cannot ignore it. But that’s what seems to be happening on the streets of our neighbourhood. They choose to ignore reality which is dangerous and deranged and can lead to violence and destruction.’

            ‘It’s not just good vs. evil, it’s real vs. unreal. I listened to a nurse from South Dakota who describes how dying Covid patients still don’t believe they have the virus. They’d rather have lung cancer. They die full of hate, denial and confusion. That’s how delusional some people have become,’ I said.

            ‘It’s a divided world filled with hate, lies and guns against the world of reason, facts and understanding. These are trying times and it’s become the valley of tears.’

            We both stared at the grey world outside, Keats Island obscured by mist and rain, seagulls squawking and the odd eagle gliding by and we marveled at how time just slips away.

            ‘This will be over some day,’ I said, ‘and when it’s over, some people will claim it never was here in the first place.’

            ‘You two look ready for your second pint. Isn’t November just the greatest month. Just before Christmas and the longest to look forward to spring and summer.’

            ‘That’s a cheerful thought,’ Camp said, a tad sarcastic.

            ‘I’m trying to bring some cheer and light into your world of gloom and doom. If there is nothing you can do about changing it, maybe it’s best to just watch it go by, like a movie or a train. Just sit and watch and drink your beers. Cheers.’

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