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A new "letters to the editor" feature at Lean Out, rounding up your thoughts and reflections on the news of the day
One of the best things about coming to Substack is the mail that I get from readers. Many of you are now reaching out regularly to share your thoughts and reflections on the news of the day, and I am grateful. It’s giving me a better understanding of this surreal time that we are living through, and an appreciation for just how many different perspectives there are on it.
I’m going to start publishing excerpts from these messages from time to time — always after asking permission — in order to get more voices on the page. If you want to participate, you can simply hit reply to any newsletter. I can’t respond to all emails, due to the volume, but I do read and appreciate every single one. And I thank you for entrusting me with your stories, your hopes and your fears.
Here’s some notes from the past few weeks, which stayed with me as we tried, together, to make sense of the moment.
On media coverage:
“I’ve been closely following the trucker freedom convoy with many mixed emotions, ranging from excitement to fear. In my own family there is a split. Some like me who feel that what the truckers are protesting goes far beyond whether a person wants to be vaccinated or not. Others in my family are only receiving information from the ‘mainstream’ media and believe that the truckers are racists, violent and not to be tolerated, or they just don’t know what to believe. Since the legacy media is only reporting one side they don’t really know what’s going on.... These completely different versions of what is going on in Ottawa, or with anything ‘pandemic’ related, is causing craziness in peoples’ minds and behaviour. What I am hoping to see — and perhaps you have the ability to do this — are the human stories around the damage that has been done re: the mandates and the division that has been created in this country and the world.”
— Leslie, British Columbia
On economic inequality:
“Canada suffers from a national mythology that we are a classless society where we are all in some version of the middle class. Puncturing this myth will not be easy, because it's easier to believe a myth that is comforting than a reality which redefines us.”
— Christopher, Ontario
On the Emergencies Act:
“I think you need to interview some of the people who disagree with this point of view. There are several strong arguments making the opposite points, that the Act was needed to quickly erode the occupation, chase down the culprits, etc. The case for this will dissipate soon, presumably. And many look forward to clarity from the courts and future inquiry. It is true that Ottawa is divided in terms of the occupation's impact. That's actually an obvious point. But (credible) polls, not the online CTV ‘polls,’ show we were united in our opposition to the occupation and in support of ending it. Not being able to ‘go downtown’ is an inconvenience unless you have something you must do there.”
— Robin, Ontario
“OMG Tara, this describes exactly my life right now! I go to a gym in Ottawa, and there is an unbelievable homogeneity of thought on the trucker convoy at said gym. I am quite certain that if I were to say something like ‘while I don't support the invasion of a city, I do see that there are some legitimate concerns that the trucker convoy has brought to light’ I would be eviscerated, and maybe even asked to leave the gym. My own daughter is hardly speaking to me right now for saying pretty much what I wrote above. This is so painful, and I feel literally sick all the time!”
— Susan, Ontario
On vaccine mandates:
“As a lifelong ‘leftist,’ with strong roots in the Labour movement in Canada, I could not vote in the last election. I ended up spoiling my ballot and writing ‘No vaccine passports or mandates. No discrimination. We are one.” No political party speaks for me now. If I was not being held hostage in my own country, I would leave forever. When I get the chance, I may. My heart is broken at the loss of the sense of belonging to my country.”
— Patryce, British Columbia
“That article on the truckers. Not quite. It is very simple. We just don’t want to be forced to take an experimental injection or lose our livelihoods. It is a basic human right. That’s all. That’s it. For me personally, I have two grown children with partners who have all thankfully refused to be guinea pigs for the state. One has had to give up his dream of getting his pHD and pursuing an academic career, the others are at risk of unemployment because our elitist PM has convinced a compliant and plastic society conditioned from years of Covid psyop to hate my beautiful, kind, loving, smart, and gentle children and see them as selfish, racist, misogynist, unintelligent lowlifes who don’t deserve to be a part of society. That’s why I stood on an overpass with my sign that said ‘Thank You.’ The freedom we all want is the freedom to be human again, free from the mandates of a heartless tyrant who doesn’t care one iota if his citizens lose everything they worked for and end up on the street unable to feed themselves or their kids. And don’t forget, this goes for nurses, airline pilots, firefighters, and doctors, dentists, students… Not just truckers. We are all crying now, for help and for real. What do you do when your governments don’t work for you anymore, won’t listen, and just don’t give a sh**? When their goal is to crush you, break your spirit, and add insult to injury, violate your right to medical voluntary consent? You stand behind a few truckers because they are big and strong and give you hope when you thought all was lost.”
— Val, British Columbia