The Awakening

As Heather and I were driving to Wingham this morning we were reflecting on how the entire world has been consumed with COVID, how everyone has spent and is spending countless hours talking about it, hiding from it, masking up from it, social-distancing from it, you name it. There’s not a day, rarely an hour, where COVID thoughts and conversations are not on the table.

Yet two years ago, November 2019, no one was talking about COVID. Somehow a few people put this performance together and by April 2020, presto, it went viral, no pun intended.

Imagine the accomplishment of it all. I’m thinking about diseases and pandemics and planning the actions needed should events transpire that call for decisions to be made. The World Health Organisation and the departments of health in all the nations were ready for COVID. They had measures in place to address something like a coronavirus.

While I applaud the scope of the effort that was undertaken, I must take exception to the methods used to address the COVID pandemic. With few exceptions, every nation implemented plans for compulsory measures, and in a short time so many of our freedoms and choices disappeared.

I think humanity has been asleep for a long time, and that the COVID events are revealing this. What we have been asleep to, perhaps never conscious about, is the erosion of our freedoms that has been revealed so starkly with COVID-related restrictions and edicts, the various lockdowns and curfews being the most glaring examples. Recently Heather and I went out for coffee at a favourite café, coincidentally on Armistice day, November 11 just a short distance from a ceremony going on recognizing the fallen soldiers of World War I who by all accounts fought for our freedom, freedom now being taken away so nonchalantly.

I think that we’ve been asleep to how important freedom is to a human being and forgot to be vigilant about defending these freedoms. I don’t see any villains in this undertaking, I see more of an ignorance playing itself out and our freedoms almost looked at as something we achieved once and for all and need never think about them again. We neglected to teach the generations that came into being since World War I exactly what freedom is and why it’s so important. A short blog isn’t the place to do justice to such an important topic, so I’ll limit my discussion with a few examples.

Let’s start with a simple freedom, the freedom to come and go as we please, be it a walk in the park, having a beer with a friend in our favourite pub, going the cinema or just going for a drive somewhere. Restrictions ended all that, especially in the bigger cities. Melbourne for example was forced to live under a curfew, forbidding free movement between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.  One of the most frightening stories out of that is this one of police shooting at a curfew breacher, an event that happened back in August, 2020. This is about keeping us safe?

In a free society, each of us has the right to work for a living, to find a job or to run a business of our own. Never in my wildest nightmares did I think that I would see a situation in which it was forbidden to go to work, forbidden to open my café and serve my customers. Yet that’s exactly what’s happened here and all around the world. Governments waved their big sticks and suddenly businesses were ordered to close their doors. Not all businesses of course. Those deemed to be of essential service were allowed to stay open. Who determined what business was essential and what was not? Government of course.

Let’s listen to what happened to Jane and John Doe, a young couple conjured by my imagination [just something to make it clear this isn’t a direct quote from someone] who opened a boutique clothing shop just weeks before the pandemic was declared.

“John and I fulfilled our dream by opening our shop. In the early stages of the pandemic we were of course concerned about catching COVID and hoped that actions like wearing masks and keeping our distance from our customers would help. But soon after that, we got instructions that all but essential services were to immediately lockdown. This meant close our doors to business. The first thing that we felt was fear. Deep, all-consuming fear. What will become of us? We’re not wealthy by any means. Everything we own is in this shop. That plus the $50,000 debt we took out to outfit it and stock it with inventory. We were smart enough to plan for our business starting out slowly so had some savings ready. But our savings quickly dwindled and we began extending our credit cards, watching them creep all to quickly to the max. We watch the news and see nothing good on the horizon about restrictions being lifted. Fear and worry rule our lives.

We’re curious too. With so much unasked for free time on our hands we do a lot of reading, a lot of surfing the ‘net looking for what’s happening in the COVID world. It doesn’t take much investigation to discover that young people in their 30’s like us seldom are seriously affected by COVID, often catch the virus and never know it. Most of our customers would be like us, in our age group because that’s who we set up to serve in our business. Couldn’t they have figured out for themselves whether it is safe or not to come and buy some shirts from us? Besides being afraid, we’re confused and befuddled. What is going on?

We get that buying food is more essential than buying boutique clothing. But look what’s happening. We go down to the local supermarket and we mingle shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of other shoppers. We’re all masked and sort of distance ourselves a bit from our fellow shoppers, yet we’re aisle-to-aisle people. If you come down to our shop most times you’ll be our only customer. You John and I, the only people in the building, all masked up, keeping our distance as you browse through your items of interest. How is that any more dangerous than shopping for bananas? I’m not only confused, I’m getting very, very angry.

Our shop-owners aren’t the only ones getting angry. Here’s a cross-section of Aussie folk who are also getting mad as hell and speaking out.

These people are not crazy, right-wing conspiracy-anti-vax nutcases. They are typical of people all over the world saying “Enough!”. We’re all coming out of this nightmare in our own time, awakening to what’s going on and wondering what can be done to restore some sense of normal to our world. Where am I? What’s happening? What can I do?

Back to where I started in this post, I say we start a movement, one that I call The Awakening. I confess to having no idea how to start a movement, but I’m sure it begins by having a common complaint and a common vision. Our coping with COVID has more and more illuminated the inescapable fact that we no longer live in a free world but live in one with ever increasing meddling in our lives, ever increasing elimination of the few freedoms we have left. My proposal for a solution is to build A World of Honour, a world of equals living under A Code of Honour. You and I were born free, but until we become awakened to what this really means and what we can do to restore it, it’s just a dream. And if ever there was an idea to be “woke” to, this is it. Come and awaken with me.

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