Defiance, rude awakenings all the rage in Covid pandemic

A protester in Wellington makes her feelings known about compulsory Covid vaccinations. PHOTO:...
A protester in Wellington makes her feelings known about compulsory Covid vaccinations. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
It would have been a rude awakening, except I was already awake.

Some of you might think dousing myself in milk was a modern take on Cleopatra’s supposed behaviour. If only.

I certainly would not have expected anyone to drink the milk afterwards as some milk bathers have done through the ages. (Some sold the used milk, and there are reports of 19th-century Swiss innkeepers making cheese out of their guests’ bath leftovers. Waste not, want not.)

However, my partial immersion was unintended. I was innocently eating my morning muesli in bed while reading the paper when a moment’s inattention saw the bowl tip and deposit some of its contents on me and the sheets.

Pausing briefly to mourn the loss, and, more importantly, secure what was left in the bowl, I leapt out of bed to find something to mop up the mess. The sheets were fresh, making it even more annoying. Clad in my dressing gown, as I reached an upright position, I felt the shock of cold milk run up my arm then down my body to land on the floor.

That sounds as if the milk started out defying the law of gravity, but that account omits that I was waving my arms around in a tizzy.

Defiance, rude awakenings. They seem to be all the rage in the Covid-19 pandemic. Rage is up there too.

Maybe some of us really believed New Zealand was a team of five million, a homogeneous mixture which once blended could never be broken. That has never been true, even if we wanted it to be. But now I find I am nervous to be in touch with some acquaintances because I am frightened I might find out they have gone down the anti-vax rabbit hole.

There will be rude awakenings, and sadness, this week when some workers will find colleagues they may have respected and liked are out of a job because, for whatever reason, they are not prepared to have Covid-19 vaccinations.

It is easy to think up disparaging names for those who hold views we consider bizarre — such beliefs as Covid-19 being a hoax; a falsehood foisted on us so the Government can get complete control of us; the vaccine containing microchips or something which makes us magnetic to allow those running the show to obliterate us all in three years by pressing a button — all designed to lower the population as a solution to global warming . (It is unclear why we couldn’t have just let the disease run amok to achieve the same goal.)

Not all of those who object to ‘‘no jab, no job’’ rules will hold such views, but all will be lumped together whether they like it or not. They may see they are making a stand for freedom but in the process their own freedoms will be curtailed, and they may find relationships with family and friends fractured.

The fact the vaccine is not an absolute protection from contracting the disease or transmitting it probably doesn’t help counter any of their arguments.

Arguing, even when you feel logic is on your side, is futile. They know you have been duped by the authorities, Bill Gates, the lying mainstream media and goodness knows who else.

So what are we to do as family or friends looking on?

I wish I had the answer to that. It has made me reflect on another them-and-us experience 30 years ago, when I was part of a small Methodist church congregation which split over the decision to welcome an openly gay minister.

Those who could not bear the idea left the church. It was weird to think the leavers, who had literally been singing from the same song sheet, were no longer having anything to do with those of us remaining because of the new minister’s sexual orientation. In some cases, longstanding friendships were severed.

We chose not to engage in vitriol. If, by chance, I met any of those who had left it was always awkward at first, but I greeted them warmly and spoke of anything but the issue that divided us.

Maybe that was gutless. I have often wondered whether some of the leavers came to regret their stand. I know at least one did not, and that still stings.

In the Covid-19 situation, I try to understand that the world some vaccine resisters believe in is a terrifying place, more terrifying than the reality of the coronavirus. Whether the disease spreading throughout the country will be a rude awakening for them, or reinforce their defiance and anger, is anybody’s guess.

Whatever happens, I can probably only be relied on to wave my arms around in a tizzy. Useless, I know.

  • Elspeth McLean is a Dunedin writer.





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