Wednesday, August 17, 2022

A Useful Crisis

I'm a big movie buff, and I used to love watching meaty psychological thrillers and films with evil people murdering one another. No Country for Old Men is one of my favourites. Or deep absurdity, like Synecdoche, New York. But I find I can't watch that anymore. With the exception of Better Call Saul (because Kim Wexler is one of the most fascinatingly complex female characters written for a series), I've developed an aversion to the cruelty and mayhem of films I used to love. It appears I've become too sensitive! I blame the current socio-political climate making our lives full of death and chaos. I'm limited to comedies and cartoons. 

But even there, I can't escape our current situation. Last night's viewing was The Lion King, and this bit, when Nala confronts Simba, wouldn't allow me a brief respite from the current turmoil caused by Ford's privatization shenanigans:

The relevant bit, more or less: 

Nala: "Scar let the hyenas take over the pride lands. Everything's destroyed. If you don't do something soon everyone will starve. 

Simba: "It doesn't matter. Hakuna Matata. Sometimes bad things happen and there's nothing you can do about it. So why worry?"

Nala: Because it's your responsibility."

And then Rafiki, the wise monkey, tells Simba to "Remember who you are!" 

This is a reminder to find our better nature. We need someone wise to shake us out of our collective childishness that's content to bury the problems surrounding us and any role we might play in addressing or preventing them in favour of a more entertaining and relaxing life. As a society, we no longer have elders of any description that help to guide us through moral development. Concern with "right action" is scoffed at in a conflation of morality and moralism. 

Ford has let business interests take over our province. Health care and education are being dismantled to pay for an unnecessary highway that will pave the way for Ford's developer buddies to pad their bank accounts. The climate will be further harmed in the process. Public health units are following along - following what the public wants, or what the messaging has told us we want, instead of leading us out of this mess. Infections were cut in half in Boston schools that kept mask mandates; lifting mandates led to 28,690 additional missed school days. And in Alberta, schools without mandates have three times more outbreaks. Mandating protections so clearly lead to fewer days away from school and fewer hospitalizations. It's such an easy and simple solution, but it runs against Ford's plan, which appears to involve actively destroying public institutions in order to convince the public to "choose" privatized care as the better option. It's only better after money has been siphoned away from the public system enough to render it completely ineffective. 

Covid is a useful crisis for disaster capitalists in our midst. Ontario will never be the same. 

ETA: A coalition of health experts is fighting to defend public health care. 

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