By Bill Fox/Columnist
It occurred to me that I am influenced, perhaps like you, by our surroundings and the good, the bad and the ugly in our society.
So let’s start with the good – Oshawa is a city of 170,000 people. In many ways it still seems like a much smaller community. I was so impressed this past week when I ventured down to the Oshawa Centre for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. I did not see one person not wearing a mask. Good for Oshawa – it is no wonder then that in the past 30 days we have had only five to six new cases show up among 170,000 people – that says lots about our choices.
I also met a gentleman this week that wanted to do something to help the homeless and hungry in Oshawa. He started a Facebook group a few months ago and, using contributions and his own money, he has been dropping into places like Memorial Park with drinks and hamburgers, and more to help the needy people there. Some of us stereotype people who are addicts or down on their own luck. Not Jack – he wants to help his fellow human beings in little ways that restore faith in humanity for those who are suffering. I hope to meet him again soon and do a column on his group.
Now for the bad. Schools and choices parents, teachers and administrators have to make. What if we waited another month before parents had to choose whether or not to send their most precious possessions off to school? I have been previously very impressed with Premier Doug Ford and how he has worked and given praise to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they fight the common enemy to our health.
However our premier actually said, “If it were up to us we would have five kids in a classroom.” Well if it is not up to Ford, who is it up to? Fifteen students in a class would make most parents happy. I fear it is the economic pressure to get things moving again that has clouded his motives.
Just the other day in Ontario we had a daily increase of 122 case and six deaths. The following day we had 144 cases. Maybe we should have waited until after the long weekend was over before going to our recent stage? As a grandparent (older and more susceptible), I see that it is advised that we do not have close relations with our grandchildren who are returning to school. That hurts.
And finally for the ugly. Let me say that I have wonderful friends and relatives living in the US. However, what is happening there now makes me sick. I’m not talking about how they are reacting to COVID. I’m talking about the polarization of the American population. As I’ve previously mentioned, in the late 70’s I ran for provincial politics in the Dufferin-Simcoe riding before our move to Oshawa. I believe my opponents and I had great respect for each other. While we differed in how to approach things like the environment, we never attacked each other personally, nor did we try to alarm people about what the consequences would be if an opponent’s party won the election.
In the US, Trump recently stated at the Republican National Convention, “We are focusing on the science, the facts, and the data.” I’m noticing terrible lies that are dividing the population there. We have to remember that Trump also spent the first several months of the outbreak spreading misinformation about the virus, falsely claiming it was no deadlier than the flu, that it would go away on its own, and that it was a hoax that was being hyped up by the media and Democrats. Trump also warns of “a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance.” The result, of course, if he loses the election!
A noted psychologist predicts that regardless of election results, there will be riots in the streets. Perhaps it is already happening with 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse who grabbed an AR-15 style rifle, crossed state lines and joined several other armed people in the streets of Kenosha? By the end of the night, Rittenhouse had killed two people and severely wounded a third.
I see signs that Canada too is becoming more polarized. For Erin O’Toole, and all politicians, I trust we can respect our differences and refrain from personal attacks.