• Lara Flanagan

Gratitude, kindness and perspective

I wish people could remember to be grateful and kind, realise how bloody lucky we are and get a little perspective. Once Monday 11th October hit in NSW, it was to be expected that there would be a slew of people and businesses making a stand and getting on their moral high horses about humanity, being Australian, the holocaust, segregation, discrimination and anything else that they could come up with over a nice cold glass of chardy.

What I did not expect was the pressure that would be put on people who simply chose to go about their lives within the realms of what is currently legally acceptable. I saw a post on FB this week from a business that was apologizing for opening!!!! (WTF) In their post they said they they had received a lot of pressure from people to stay closed, but they were a young company that employed over 15 people and they simply could not afford to close their doors. I can only imagine the pressure they had received to post that. I was told yesterday about another service provider (none of these businesses are local by the way) who said she was too scared to open her doors because of the abuse she had received about opening her business! (WTF)

I wish that people would remember what an incredibly lucky country we live in. (USA 739,000 dead, Brazil 601,000, India 451,000, Mexico 283,000 and Australia, just under 1,500 dead). Can you imagine the carry on if we even began to catch up to the rest of the world?

I also wish that people would be more selective of the vocabulary they are currently using. I had a visitor to the gallery recently who compared the way that the unvaccinated would be treated, in the proposed NSW road map to opening, to the way that the Jewish people were treated during the Holocaust. I thought it was a random one-off comparison but since then have heard it multiple times. That comparison actually makes my heart want to cry and I question as to how did we get to the point where we completely lost our perspective. The Holocaust? A time when over 6 million people died and through no fault of their own were exterminated, tortured, experimented on, rounded up in cattle trucks, sent to concentration camps, bashed indiscriminately in the streets and forced to live on the other side of humanity. Comparing that to a short 7 week period in NSW where those who chose not to get vaccinated are unable to go to K-Mart, the movies, the pokies, galleries, visitor centres or sit down in restaurants or cafes? A period where they are however able to go to supermarkets and grocery stores, butchers, bakers, delicatessens, petrol stations, banks, post offices, chemists, newsagents, liquor stores, get takeaway, visit laundromats, shop with a click and collect, stay in camp grounds etc. From the 1st December it is on like Donkey Kong. 7 weeks of having your pleasure activities a little curtailed compared to one of the most god-awful episodes of history?

No. I think not. Grow up. Get some perspective.

As for the constant use of the words discrimination and segregation, once again I wish people would remind themselves how privileged they are to even be using those words. I cringe when I hear people bitching about this short period of time when the unvaccinated can’t do a few things and comparing that period to the horrors of apartheid. As for discrimination? Is a policeman discriminating against a driver who does not have a licence? No, he is upholding the current law. Is a judge discriminating against someone who was over the blood alcohol limit while driving? No. He is simply upholding the law. Is a nursing home discriminating against visitors by insisting that they have the flu vaccine before entry. No, they are putting their priority of their residents first.

If you want to close your business because you don’t agree with the current government policies in New South Wales, then go for it. I support any one’s decision to do what is right for them as long as it is not hurting anybody else. I just wish that there could be some sort of acknowledgement of how fortunate and blessed you are to be able to ‘choose’ to close your business to support those who ‘choose’ not to get vaccinated. If you have the funds in the bank, staff that don’t need wages and can afford to close your doors then how lucky are you? But it does not make you any more ‘Australian’ or a better person than those who are continuing to operate within the parameters of current guidelines. Some people don’t have the option to close up shop to make a statement. Some people are too busy battling to survive.

I saw two fantastic posts that really tickled my funny bone and had me saying WTF repeatedly when I started going down the social media wormhole.

The first was from a licenced establishment who was only going to open for takeaways because they NEVER, EVER refuse service to anyone. They DO NOT DISCRIMINATE and they will NEVER say NO to anyone who wants SERVICE. It is just not the AUSSIE way. I really hoped Liquor Licencing had seen their post. As licencees and responsible servers of alcohol it is a legal requirement to say no (to discriminate?) to many people. Those who are under 18. Those who are aggressive or showing signs of intoxication. Those who are looking like they plan on drinking and driving. It must be a hell of a place if they NEVER say NO to ANYONE.

The second post was from the owner of a small hole in the wall that served takeaway coffee. His name was Barry, Bazza to his friends. Bazza was a legend. He had organised a photo of himself standing arms crossed, glaring at the camera, with his little window screen rolled shut. In his comments he said something along the lines of “we are either in this together or not at all as it is just not the Australian way to discriminate or to support segregation and he would stop serving coffee until after December when he could serve coffee to everybody.”

The comments were amazing – Baaaaazzzzaaa – you are a true Aussie maaaaaaaaaaatteeee. I wish more people could be like you Bazza and shut their doors (WTF), a true Australian Bazzzzaaaa. Maybe you should open only to the unvaccinated BAAAZZZZZZAAAA and see how the vaccinated feel then (WTF). Baaazzzaaaaa. When this nightmare ends, we will only get coffee from you Bazza and ignore those other businesses who opened. Let’s put an end to this discrimination mate. Baaaaaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaa, a true Aussie who sums up the bloody spirit of the Anzacs. (WTF. WTF. WTF.) The thing that perplexed me the most was the Bazza provided a takeaway service so there were no limitations to who he wanted to serve. Maybe the poor bloke just wanted a break? It must be exhausting being that much of a legend and not being able to understand current government health orders.

In all honesty I don’t care what choices people make as long as they don’t hurt others and that they realise there are consequences to all our choices. I also wish people would remember to be grateful, be kind and to put things into perspective. If you have no gratitude, have lost your kindness, and are incapable of putting things in perspective, then what is the bloody point?

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