The War on Santa and other social ills
Our political leaders have cancelled Christmas.
Sadly, this restrictive policy is not effective in saving lives.
We will have to settle for only the spirit of the season this year.
No shared Christmas puddin’, loud cross-table talk, or even witty jokes from your brother-in-law for you.
It’s official: the seasonal holidays have been cancelled.
The count is now up to at least five Canadian provinces, where public health authorities have essentially outlawed any communal celebration of Hanukkah, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve.
This urge to wage war on our traditions is part and parcel of the cultural face of official pandemic policy these days.
Even though our leaders use compassionate words to promote distancing, lockdowns, mask wearing, and the like, the reality is that participation is mandatory and is backed by social stigma, fines, and law enforcement muscle.
Some social activities are outright shunned and denounced, and it is amazing how well they line up with what we used to call freedom and fun.
This includes live music, arts and entertainment, sports, social get-togethers, evenings out on the town, house parties of any size, and, of course, the seasonal holidays.
Like all things in life, though, there are always trade-offs to our decisions.
What are we specifically gaining and giving up by foregoing a turkey or tofu dinner with our loved ones later this month?
Looking at BC, it is certainly true that we are in the midst of the strongest surge yet in positive tests, hospitalizations, and deaths related to the virus.
However, charts from the full article show that the gains from cancelling the Holidays are, upon examination, ephemeral.
There is seemingly no impact from the latest restrictions (a mask mandate and a ban on home visits since early November) on elderly deaths, and little discernable mortality risk from the virus for those under age 70. The virus is basically going up and down, in the same unhindered way as it has in every other region on Earth.
The government narrative is that we need to forego all of our traditions and retreat to our homes to save ourselves from the virus.
The reality is that we are doing this for nothing.
Our collective War on Santa (and everything else that is fun in life) is not really based on evidence or science or even the course of the pandemic.
It is rather centred on a primal urge to control nature and the desperation that arises when we cannot get our way.
We are striking out at each other and the time-honored way to show that we mean business is to squelch any person or activity that fails to exude the requisite seriousness.
Hence, we shoot down Santa and raise the Grinch and cancel every last bit of joy in our society. We think that by doing this, we will finally throw ourselves fully at the virus and achieve a lasting victory.
My expectation is that we will shortly find that our viral nemesis has not disappeared and that 2021 will open without the sense of progress towards the end of this pandemic that many anticipate.
Without that confidence that we are winning against the virus, we are likelier than not to continue with our efforts to stay apart from each other, thus contributing to the steady erosion of our social cohesion.
Thankfully for now, the spirit of Christmas is just that, an attitude divorced from the physical world and requiring us only to commune with each other in our thoughts and in our prayers.
If we cannot get together in person, we can at least hold that essence in our hearts, helping to carry us through the long days that are still to come.
And on that note, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a fond hope for a rethink and better pandemic policies in the New Year!
The full article can be found here.