I've been pondering my anger of recent days -- recent years, actually -- and have researched a bit of the causes of anger. A great deal of it can come back to experiences of trauma and/or deep grief, giving way to *fear*.
Fear. And what have I to fear, you might ask? I'm a relatively healthy older person with a cozy home, a variety of interests, the love of family and a few good friends. I have enough to live on; I'm not rich, but I lack for nothing.
What am I afraid of?
Simply put, the loss of this relatively quiet, creative life with which I've been blessed. This beautiful land, and the 'peace, order and good government' that's been my experience through most of my life. The loss of civility, humanity, and care-for-others that was fought for in the two great wars, and continues to be the source of peace -- and the root of much of the conflict around the globe now.
I've watched in horror ove the past 6 years as the United States has once again been torn apart by fear: the fear that fueled the War Between the States 150 years ago (give or take) -- fear bred largely in the minds and hearts of white men seeking to be in control not only of their own lives but of the lives of all others around them, "others" being the operative word -- others of different colour, creed, race, gender.
And this same fear seems to have taken root in Canada -- again.
Again? Yes. It's never really left, and is expressed differently in other provinces -- such as Quebec, with it's government's determination to be harshly secular and rigid, to preserve the French culture there at all costs.
When my late husband and I moved west to Alberta in the seventies, we found it here too: in pockets of what was then called the "Aryan Nation", shamed into silence after a teacher who attempted to teach that the Holocaust of WW II was a hoax, was arrested, convicted and jailed for his offences.
But I suspect it never disappeared. It had connections with groups in the western US, particularly in Idaho.
And I suspect that a great deal of the support for the truck blockade at this province's southern border, as well as the support of the convoys headed east to disrupt the work of government in Ontario and in the nation's Capital, is still coming from those connections. Hence the Nazi symbols and the other signs of 'white supremacy' in evidence in Ottawa this past week.
Hence the belligerence of the many truckers who are Angry White Men.
Troubling, too, is the apparent double standard in the way these "protestors" have been dealt with by police. Sure, they have large weapons (their trucks), but those truckers are, by and large, caucasian.
If these were indigenous people on foot or in pick-up trucks blocking a forestry road to protect old growth forest from decimation by large corporations...the Army would have been called in long ago.
Any way I look at it, it's frightening. My fear and anger may have cost me a friendship -- I don't know. But as was identified in a recent news article I read a few days ago (apologies; I can't track it down just now), these pandemic times have brought out the best -- and the worst -- in all of us. The attempts to cope with an invisible physiological danger, one that's been so deadly for so many, have been challenging, and have resulted in the fear of loss of control of our lives, our environment, and of all that's near and dear to us.
Add in ignorance, a refusal to be educated and a fear of loss of cultural and personal identity, perceived threats to a certain way of life and livelihood and, well...there it is.
Anger, playing out in some of the ugliest ways: acts of destruction, desecration, bullying. And playing out more quietly in words misunderstood, or ignored, and in personal divisions. Values -- for good or ill -- run deep, and these pandemic times have tapped into them more deeply than has been seen for decades.
There will be no easy, painless way past this, for even after the Pandemic becomes endemic -- something we live with -- what most of us consider "normal" will have disappeared. There's no going back. There never has been.
May the Creator have mercy on us all.