A number of times over the past two years, we’ve said the government would eventually learn they cannot outrun Covid, that sooner or later they’ll realise they must learn to ‘live with the virus,’ and that a mandatory subscription to a lifetime of injections wasn’t a sustainable or effective option.
At the time, we noted that it was simply a question of how much damage they’d inflict, how many relationships they’d strain, and how many lives they’d financially ruin before arriving at that inevitable and obvious point.
Of course, when we (and others) said this, we were dismissed as heartless, cruel, and unloving. “Don’t you care about the grandmother they’ve barred you from visiting for the entirety of a year?” For many, there was one course of acceptable action, and it just so happened to be whatever our politicians and the mainstream media prescribed.
It didn’t matter who you were. If anyone stepped out of line by questioning the narrative, they were promptly shut down. For quite a few of us, it turned out that our friends, family, and even church leaders were to become the most militant apologists for the state. The authorities and the media had public opinion in their hands, turning it whichever way they wished.
They wanted us to unquestionably go along with the mandates, and so, they demonised any resistance. The most sensible resistance. Businesses that didn’t fire their ‘unclean’ employees, or ban their ‘dangerous’ customers, were publicly shamed as crazy, and even a danger to society, if they weren’t violently arrested.
Even many of our churches bowed the knee to irrational measures, by implementing state-monitoring ‘check-in systems,’ prohibiting singing, and introducing segregated services that essentially excommunicated unvaccinated members from the Lord’s Table. God, have mercy!
Yet, here we are, two years later, listening to politicians, medical experts, and the media now echoing the very thing you would have heard from the stage at almost any of the ‘infamous’ anti-mandate rallies.
You remember, those rallies that our politicians, medical experts, and the media condemned as dangerously anti-scientific, right? Those rallies that Big Eva likened to domestic terrorism and the “January 6 insurrection.”
States across Australia are rolling back their oppressive vaccine mandates, restrictions, and closing down their quarantine camps. Is that because we’ve defeated the flu and reached the delusional and unattainable goal of “Covid Zero”? Is that because we now know more about the virus than we did a year ago? Is that because the vaccines have proven effective at stopping the spread?
In 2020, the death rate in Australia was the lowest ever recorded, according to data recently released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. That same year, Covid was the 38th leading cause of death.
Presently, there are almost 87,000 active cases in New South Wales alone. According to NSW Health, 21 people have died with the virus in the last 24 hours. There are 40 people in intensive care. South Australia just recorded its second-highest daily total of new cases, but did you know about it?
A year ago these figures were being broadcast daily through just about every media outlet. Evidently, our authorities are finally learning that we can “live with the virus” without the powers dictating where we go, who we meet with, and what we wear.
While the backpedalling is a welcome change, what is glaringly absent from the present discourse is any display of contrition. Has one politician issued a humble apology for the damage they’ve inflicted? Has one medical expert admitted they went too hard, too fast, with an unsustainable, unreliable, and unrealistic solution? Has the media admitted they were silent on matters they should have challenged?
Has any minister of the gospel stood in the pulpit from which he proclaimed the excellencies of the state’s discriminatory and damaging approach and issued an apology (or resignation)?
I’m not going to hold my breath. We’ve seen how many of these sorts hide behind “the science.” “Why should we apologize,” they say. “We were just operating according to the best information available at the time.” As though an appeal to ignorance couldn’t also be employed to dodge every other situation that demands an apology.
So, while a humble admission of fault might be a little too much to expect, we can still be hopeful for some minor social benefits. Many went into Covid with a blind trust in our institutions. It’s been a slow deconstruction, but there is a growing number of individuals coming out the other end with a healthy scepticism. Maybe we shouldn’t completely outsource our thinking on medical, political, economic, or even theological matters after all.
Many of the institutions we’ve come to trust in have demonstrated a blind allegiance to the current zeitgeist in their pursuit of respectability. As such, they have squandered the public confidence that took centuries to establish. Where truth and basic human rights clashed with the mainstream narrative, it was the former that gave way to the latter. The past two years have put that on display for all to see.
At this point, it would seem the only people still publicly fuelling Covid scaremongering are those with power to maintain, pride to preserve, or personal responsibility to shirk. Those reluctant to admit an error of judgement will instead hope we all just quietly move on, forget the past two years, and pretend nothing ever happened. That is, of course, until it happens again.
The question now is what we do with those friends and family who are seemingly coming around, and suddenly talking to us again. The sorts who complied right up until they didn’t have to anymore, and are now claiming they never really agreed with the whole thing to begin with.
We could demand their humility, we could make their grovelling apology the condition of communication, or we could demonstrate humility ourselves. Not the kind that admits wrong where there is no wrong, but the kind that suffers wrong. The kind of humility that Jesus displayed. That’s not to say we must trust the untrustworthy, but rather that we don’t need to completely burn bridges our friends and family may, someday, be in desperate need of crossing.
“For to this, you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:21-23)
It seems like an impossible task, and without divine aid, it is. In the meantime, we can pray with Saint Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.