To mask or unmask? Let kindness be your guide

On Monday, March 21 Premier Doug Ford’s government lifted most of the masking requirements across the province, eliciting a heavy sigh of relief from one half of the population and a terrified gasp of horror from the other.

The arguments that this should have come sooner or that it is all happening too soon are moot. The matter is now upon us and the time has come to be judged on how we handle things going forward. Masks are no longer obligatory, but they are also discretionary—so wear ‘em if you want ‘em.

Whichever side of the masking divide upon which one stands, and it has been a very bitter divide at times, now is a time for both sides to channel that most Canadian of virtues. In a word, be kind, well okay that’s two words, but kindness is still the key.

If you see your neighbour wearing a mask to church, or in the grocery store, or even walking down the street and you vehemently oppose mask mandates—hold your ire. If you firmly believe that not wearing a mask shows an utter contempt for public health and flaunts established science, bite back that urge to admonish.

We have all been through a very difficult time, and although there is no ironclad guarantee that the worst is now behind us (although current statistics do give some hope that it might just be), this is a time for all of us to take a cautious breath, cross our fingers and, if you are a person of faith, pray that things will be returning to something far closer to normal.

The spectre of nuclear Armageddon that we so recently believed was firmly in the rear-view mirror has once again raised its hoary head and the firestorm of social media-fanned hate seems to be engulfing our society at every turn. This is no time to be casting stones upon our neighbours, no matter how misguided we may consider their actions, or lack of, as an affront to our common sense.

Let us instead make common cause to be understanding and compassionate to our neighbours. We know little of the heavy load each may have borne through these past two years. Many of us have been separated from our loved ones, some much more than others, even when those loved ones were soon to be gone from arms’ embrace forever. Let tolerance be ascendant.

So, whatever your personal stance is to mask or not to mask, the best way forward is simple and clear—simply be kind.