Time for a nation-wide attitude adjustment?

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Allyson Beauregard
Rédacteur / Managing Editor
editor@journalpontiac.com

A couple of issues ago, a reader submitted a thought-provoking letter about the difference between surviving and thriving during the pandemic and its aftermath and how the latter isn’t possible without
love, inclusiveness and mutual respect of differences.

Allyson Beauregard
Rédacteur / Managing Editor
editor@journalpontiac.com

A couple of issues ago, a reader submitted a thought-provoking letter about the difference between surviving and thriving during the pandemic and its aftermath and how the latter isn’t possible without
love, inclusiveness and mutual respect of differences.
Over 18 months after the pandemic hit Canada, it’s shocking – sad and disappointing actually — how the “we’re all in this together” mantra has increasingly faded, with anger and hostility for differing views becoming more common.
Vaccination, once regarded as a purely personal choice, is now a common source of arguments, general division among people, and even broken or strained relationships with family and friends. We can all provide at least one, if not many, stories or examples of things we’ve witnessed, with social media as a major platform for the discord. The same is true for other pandemic-related issues like mask wearing and vaccine passports.  
There are extremists on both ends of the spectrum; from people touting ‘conspiracy’ theories of corruption and aggressively protesting outside schools and hospitals, to incidents like a recent one in Cranbrook, B.C where someone spray-painted a cenotaph with “the real heroes are the vaccinated” hours before a Remembrance Day ceremony was to be held.
But there’s a large grey area approaching the middle-ground of where people simply make their own decisions and allow others to do the same. In the grey area, problems still exist, although milder and less extreme. Here we find those who are quick to negatively label, insult or stigmatize others, some even aggressively or hostilely, for their decisions or opinions.    
Canadians have long been defined as polite and friendly and our culture based on fairness, inclusion, diversity, acceptance and equity. When did the train de-rail?
Perhaps it’s the effects of this dragging-on pandemic taking its toll – we’re all worn out, tired and want ‘normal’ life back. But hopefully it isn’t signaling the beginning stages of a permanent loss of the wonderful values that make us Canadian and our ability to be respectful, even to those we don’t agree with. If the latter is the case, it could be one of the scariest side effects of the pandemic; a new, unaccepting and
disrespectful normal, and like the viral pandemic, this too could be tragic on many levels.   
As the pandemic approaches closer to what we hope is its end, the next step is for us all to take a deep and critical look at our attitudes and see if they need an adjustment. Disagreement, debate and difference of opinion are okay and can even be a sign of a healthy-functioning society, but not when it’s disrespectful and/or accompanied by exclusiveness, insults, stigma or aggressiveness. That’s not what we Canadians – especially Pontiacers, known for our tightly-knit and supportive communities – are about. You don’t have to agree or support, but it’s important to be respectful and kind.
Do we need to re-learn how to live and let live?