Letter: Words have power and with that comes responsibility

A critique of the media narrative on the anti-vax movement

To the Expositor:

I am increasingly disturbed with a mostly singular narrative painting a mostly singular picture coming from the media of late, through both letters and articles. Though an opinion piece, this writing continued along that same line, promoting more division and stereotyping.

I am not at all condoning the behavior of the individuals of interest in the article but there are extremes on both sides. Your piece failed to mention the defamation of a war memorial in Cranbrook, BC on the same day with “The real heroes are the vaccinated” spray-painted in green graffiti.

Your piece also went on to mention bombs, tyranny and 9/11 – quite a stretch from the original incident and I can only imagine it conjures more extreme images and characterizations than reflective of the original offense.  

Let me be clear again – this is in no way a defense of the way, time or place these individuals were delivering their message or how they behaved. But, again, extremes exist on both sides of the current health choice we have been given. There are those extremists that have chosen with the majority that hate people who have not, believing them selfish, worthy of death, no access to healthcare or loved ones in hospital,  no place in society. They use the stereotyped word “antivaxer” to disparage the group as a whole.  Those extremists that have not chosen with the majority might see conspiracy around each corner, believing others to be gullible, ignorant and feeling the need to protect themselves and everyone else from what they feel is societal blindness. They use the label “sheep” to, again, belittle and degrade.

I truly hope the majority of us still live ever so slightly on either side of the center line, having made our own choice but respecting the choice of others and operating together in a society without segregation or fear and with respect of one another.

Perhaps we could look to the piece by Wong-Tam in the Toronto Sun from November 17 as an example of writing and opinion that is able to see all sides with understanding and balance and promotes the same. Or, reflect on your op-ed piece from September 8 ‘Name Calling and Intimidation of others is wrong’ which demonstrated real insight and understanding into how to remain within our humanity while disagreeing with others.

Right now, more than ever, we need those who have the power of a platform to use it for good—to bring us closer together instead of further apart, to encourage empathy and compassion, not further division and stereotypes. We may not be able to control the rest of the world, but maybe we can create this reality at least where we are.

Respectfully, 

Kent Corbierre

Little Current