The Edmonton Journal censored my comment yesterday. I don’t know which rule I broke, but what I said was apparently bad enough to cast my words into the depths of local journalistic purgatory.
I was responding to an article about the convoy of trucks that paraded through Canada to Ottawa. The truck drivers began their parade a few days ago and arrived in the country’s centre of political power on Saturday when there were no politicians present. I think that’s the political protest equivalent of achieving arousal by leaning against the washer during the spin cycle.
Truck drivers must now be vaccinated in order to cross the border between the USA and Canada. About 85% of truck drivers are already vaccinated, so this was a protest on behalf of the 15% of them who are not. I don’t know what proportion of the Canadian population 15% of truckers represents, but it’s probably a smidgeon.
According to some of the signs and spokespeople, they aren’t protesting against vaccinations. They are protesting against being mandated to be vaccinated. I suspect that our overworked health care workers would say that is a distinction without a difference, but there it is.
It reminds me of the early years of parenthood when a child resists doing something by saying to their parent, “Why should I?” or “You can’t make me” or “You are not the boss of me.” When I was such a parent, my response was often something like “Because I said so,” but politicians aren’t allowed to say that to truckers. They have tried logic and that hasn’t worked, though, so maybe “Just because” will have to do.
The article I was reading suggested that this convoy was our Woodstock; a celebratory coming together in peace and love. My comment in the response to the article was as follows:
“If this convoy was a celebration of the value we place on truckers, then I would agree. As it is, though, I cannot celebrate the refusal of some to get the vaccine. It isn’t for the good of the community, it is against it.“
In response, someone said:
“What don’t you understand about the “fact” that vaccinated individuals are still getting and giving Covid. Wasn’t this all about stopping the spread. Stopping hospitals being over run. Have you read the statistics. And do you see the number of people ALL over the world in support of YOUR RIGHTS. Even while you oppose them. This is more than about a vaccine.“
My response, which was “deactivated” was:
“Yes, we can all pass on the virus. The difference is that the unvaccinated are 68 times more likely to die from it than fully vaccinated people. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#rates-by-vaccine-status) Considering a hierarchy of values, I place the right to live over the right to choose.“
After I posted that, I regretted the last sentence. It raises all kinds of other issues, and maybe that was why it was censored. Or perhaps it was censored because I included a link to another website. I have no idea. What I should have said was something like “The freedom to refuse vaccination does not free anyone of the consequences.” But, unfortunately, that’s not what I said.
Today, when I went to Whyte Ave with my eldest son, we were bombarded by the honking of horns from the Alberta contingent of this national protest. They were headed for the provincial Legislative Assembly building. As with the Ottawa protest, there were no politicians around today in Edmonton, either.
The locals who saw the vehicles pass by were more interested in shopping or going to the farmers’ market than in watching the convoy. A few people, myself included, gave them a “thumbs down” gesture, but otherwise the response was mostly ambivalence. One woman said to me “Don’t give them the thumbs down. It will only encourage them.” Otherwise, I saw very little response from the crowded sidewalks. I did see one bystander waving a sign that made reference to Nuremberg, which I found extremely offensive, but my son steered me across the street, away from the sign holder. I can’t think why, but perhaps he knew that censorship was on my mind.
Two hours after we had arrived at Whyte Avenue and were leaving, there were yet more protest vehicles heading downtown, holding up traffic, and honking horns. They delayed our journey home for about twenty minutes, so they didn’t make any friends in our car. However, if the local and national media are anything to go by, they have achieved their goal by being on the front pages. Clearly, they were not really hoping to have any persuasive effect on local citizens, and certainly not with any politicians. They were probably focussed on spin cycles.