As I sit here ready to re-emerge into the world after a “week off” at home with Covid (which my wife and 2 young daughters also unfortunately tested positive for. Mild symptoms so far thankfully) I’m left with the feeling that I’m sure many people who got Covid recently after more than 2 years of successfully dodging it are feeling: I wish Rocky Balboa were in charge.
Ok, maybe not “many” people are thinking this.
However, in trying to come up with an analogy on how the world (or at least, Ontario, the part of the world I’m living in) is currently acting, despite the fact that we are still living WITHIN an active pandemic, I think it’s worth discussing how Rocky’s tactics would be better suited to actually overcoming Covid than our actual current governments’.
First of all, Rocky is a fighter, so he understands a few things that our real “leaders” don’t seem to:
I can’t speak for other regions around the world, but here in Ontario, our leaders failed at the first step (because they are not very smart) failed at the second step because, even though they HAD resources to employ, they chose instead to sit on them (because they are not very smart) and they failed at the third step because they backed off on methods that were working to protect vulnerable, such as immune-compromised adults and young children, while we are still in the midst of the fight (because they are not very smart. And they are not very good at humanity).
Hence we are in a 6thwave of the pandemic that could have been avoided if we hadn’t declared an “endemic” for no apparent reason other than “we’re just tired of it, so it’s over”.
Rocky wouldn’t have let this happen. He wouldn’t have said “the fight’s over” when it clearly isn’t. And he sure as hell wouldn’t have allowed an opponent to circulate around unchecked. He would have fought it with whatever tools he had at his disposal (in his case, a strong work ethic, an inner strength most don’t possess and a knockout punch that generally appeared only when he was very, very angry. Like the Hulk but less green.) And maybe that is what is missing from some government’s leadership: passion for people.
It’s one thing to not be very smart and become a leader (anyone who has seen video of Jason Kenney trying to put gasoline in a pickup truck recently knows that this can happen). But when a lack of intellectual strength meets a lack of emotional strength, empathy for people, instead of kowtowing to big businesses made up of people who barely meet the minimum requirements to qualify as “people”, governments fail, societies fail and, in times of pandemic, vulnerable citizens are put at unnecessary risk.
Hence we find ourselves in the middle of a fight that many are claiming we have “already won”. But we’re still up against the ropes, because we didn’t use the time we had to prepare for this over the last 2 years wisely (the Ontario Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, especially has done all he can to make public education in Ontario so unsafe and unpredictable it’s as if he’s trying to make generations of Ontarians almost as incompetent as he is) and while everyone WANTS to be circulating around again, it turns out that so does COVID. And as long as we have people in charge who lack both the intelligence and the humanity to lead effectively, Covid is actually winning.
This would be the part in a Rocky fight where he would get mad. Where those in his corner, whom he trusts as wiser than himself, would encourage him that this is the time to take action! To fight and truly knockout his opponent. To use all he had worked for in those upbeat training montages to come together and actually (as Adrienne infamously encouraged him to do in Rocky 2) “win!”
Unfortunately, in Ontario and other regions, we don’t have the people in place to do that right now. So we all need to find our inner Rocky Balboas. To stand up to opponents, who (hopefully) aren’t frighteningly large pugilists but instead are ill-informed, impatient citizens and say “we’re not out of this yet. So please do more to protect yourselves, your families and my family than the absolute minimum amount required by law.” And if they point out that they “don’t have to” maybe point out that humanity isn’t something humans have to show. But it is what sets us apart from other mammals and inanimate objects.
Of course, Rocky would follow this up with a flurry of punches to the head and body.
But I encourage you not to do that. Partly because physical violence is not an intelligent response. And mostly because you really don’t want to get too close to people who don’t believe in science and think this pandemic is over already. They’re scarier than any opponent Rocky Balboa had to face. Because they’re real. But they don’t believe in reality.