• Lara Flanagan

Pandemic of stupidity

I have been feeling a little overwhelmed of late so have been bunkering down in the bubble that resides over my cottage. Inside the bubble is me, Archie, Rissie, Kevin and Rosie, a lemon tree that never stops giving and a beautiful tree that is a riot of pink petals that does not know it is not yet spring.

The world seems all topsy-turvy with the virus, the explosion in Lebanon that appears to be the most heartbreaking of accidents or negligence and talk of another tick-borne virus in China. Places like Italy seem far away and while I am forever grateful to be living in my little home town of Tenterfield which fills my soul with so much beauty and joy, I am also hankering for a world where people can obsess about the beauty of a tomato or a glass of vino for hours.

I think one of the things that has gotten me down most is stupidity. While the world deals with the pandemic that is Covid-19 I also think it is fighting a war on another front of stupidity, ignorance, and selfishness. In an area like Tenterfield, we are thus far largely untouched by the virus. But people’s lives have still been changed and we watch daily to see what the rules are for a border town. We also are respectful of the fact that we have been on high alert for months as we continue to deal with drought and recover from 2019 when our world was one of dust, ash, and the sound of choppers in the air.

I think the drought and fires brought out the best in people. The virus however seems to have had the opposite effect. It is so difficult to listen to the complaining, the whingeing, and the complete lack of understanding about the fact that if we all do our bit we will get to the other side all the more quickly. When Victoria started to show signs of a worrying amount of social transmission, once again people decided that even though the virus does not give you the shits, it was time to stock up on toilet paper. I was at Coles early one morning and there was a lady behind me with a trolley that had 48 rolls of toilet paper. She was explaining to the lady on the register that while she did not panic buy last time, she was not going to miss out this time. I got so inwardly annoyed that if I had of had a large mullet in my bag, I would have slapped her with it while asking her if she had any idea of what started panic buying.

People whinge about the lock down – yet Australia does not even know what a genuine hard lock down is – ask New Zealand what a hard lock down is and see how they are faring now. We don’t have police on every corner, drones in the air and makeshift morgues being built at the back of ICU units. We have low population density, a small population and a vast country that allows most to have backyards. Yet we still don’t get it. There is the rise of ‘sovereign citizens’ who claim that they do not belong to anyone government, so they don’t need to abide by the rules. Yet those sovereign citizens still use roads, hospitals and schools all funded by the tax-payer’s dollar and the governments they say they loathe. People claim they don’t need to wear masks, abide by lock downs or social distance as it is their right as human beings to do whatever it is they want. Well nowhere in the world is it ok to make other people sick.

Then there are those who dismiss Covid-19 because it is no worse than the flu. I wonder how many of those people have visited an ICU unit and seen people battling for their lives for 6 weeks. Overall, the World Health Organisation estimates that between 290,000 and 610,000 people die of the flu. Right now, the Covid-19 death toll worldwide is over 720,00 and we are only in August. So no, it is not like the flu. Recently in Melbourne a door-knock of Covid-19 cases revealed that 25% of them were not at home. Those infected 25% of people were happily out in the community passing on a special gift. There are people who claim loud and clearly that they do not have to abide by lock downs, or the recommendations to stay at home. Quite often those people are the most privileged and they seem to care little about those who are in the high-risk categories such as the elderly or the immune-compromised.

People’s stupidity is heart breaking. Our lovely neighbour of New Zealand has shown how it can be done if you have a sensible government who can predict what is going to happen because other places in the world have shown you exactly what is going to happen. If you have people who abide by government rules and regulations and act in way that reflects compassion and kindness.

So many people have forgotten to be kind.

However, there are also so any people who are doing the right thing, who are the most compassionate people I know and who remain forever hopeful that stupidity will not win the day. There is also always food. Food makes me happy, which is why I love to cook and create, eat, and feed people.

I would like to think there is always hope, even in 2020.

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