Authors Note: I tried to write inspiring content this week; but after 4 weeks of the so-called “The Freedom Convoy” outside my door, disrupting my neighbourhood (and our lives) with their noise and bullshit, I had to chime in.
We’ve all heard about “The Golden Rule”. Biblical in origin, (Matthew 7:12), it simply states, “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you”.
I always believed this meant that while we don’t have to agree with everyone on everything, we should always treat others with the same respect we’d want for ourselves. To do so shows strength of character, maturity and a respect for each other’s differences.
In Stephen Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” he shares an idea that aligns nicely with The Golden Rule called “Begin With The End In Mind”. It suggests before taking action on something, first ensure it aligns with your core values.
Covey suggests we attend our own funeral -only in our minds, of course- and imagine our friends, colleagues and family eulogize about our many acheivements, positive attributes and life experiences. He also suggests we note exactly who shows up (in our minds) to say wonderful things about us. Now comes the important part.
After witnessing our own (albeit imagined) funeral, it’s time to ask: “Am I acting today in a way that people will say these things about me tomorrow?” This is important because as we’ve seen lately in many communities, some folks are not likely to be remembered so much for their good behaviours as their bad ones.
If someone wants to be remembered as a “good person”; one who is always kind and considerate towards their fellow man, shouldn’t they always act in ways that demonstrate these qualities? Even when they disagree with family members? Strangers? Politicians? The Police? And therein lies the rub.
As the national embarrassment called The Freedom* Convoy proves, lately we’ve seen lots of so-called “good people” getting swept up in a mob mentality and behaving in ways that are anything but kind and/or compassionate. How do I know this?
Because the past four weekends there’s been a protest two blocks from my home which has given some assholes the idea that it’s okay to blare/honk their horns right outside my building all day long. It’s been so incessant (I can hear it as I type this) that in order to get any peace, I’ve been spending weekends at my girlfriends place across town.
Purposely disrupting the lives of others: especially the sick, the infirm, the elderly or the disabled who -unlike me- often can’t get up and go elsewhere, aren’t acts of “freedom” or “peaceful protesting” – They are shameful, selfish acts of cowardice and bullying coming from those who only jeer and taunt from the safety of a mob; a mob that’s ironically, legally-protected by our constitution.
These people protesting for so-called “freedom” have absolutely NO IDEA what real tyranny looks like. I wish they did. What’s most ironic is that their misguided behaviour spurns on (by definition) the exact opposite of what freedom is.
I wonder if these same “good people” would be fine with their friends and families or elderly relatives (and their pets) were forced to stay inside by never-ending blaring horns and heckling protesters setting up outside their homes? I doubt it. But yet here we are.
Look, there’ll always be times when our ideologies and beliefs will differ from others; that’s part of what living in a FREE SOCIETY is all about. Sometimes we’ll be wrong, sometime’s they’ll be wrong, and we can just agree to respectfully disagree. That’s because in Canada, we get to choose our reactions to our disagreements.
But here’s the thing: It’s how we react to such differences that defines who we are. Because it’s our actions, repeated over time, that eventually shape the people we become. It’s these same actions that eventually become our legacy, and subsequent fodder for our eulogies. As such, it makes sense to act accordingly with how we’d like to be remembered, right? Unfortunately, the “Convoy of Fools” seemed to have missed the memo.
Look, I get it: Life has been extremely trying the past couple of years. Everyone, including people we disagree with (on both sides of every argument) has gone through a lot, and we all just want our lives to get back to what they were before, right? Of course we do.
Unfortunately, that’s never going to happen; it’s just not. But while Corona Virus (COVID-19) has changed our world, it’s not the first time we’ve survived a pandemic. Humans have battled the Plague, Choleras, SARS, Avian Flu; Heck, even influenza was a pandemic once.
Just like with those pandemics, this one will also take time. Very smart people (much smarter than me) are working 24/7 to figure out how to best move forward in the interest of everyone. But many don’t like the idea of sacrifice, with some even refusing to take vaccines, (to their peril) that could save their lives. But it’s not easy.
Regardless, no amount of horn-blaring or flag desecration or “protesting what we don’t like” can or will side-step this process. It’s science, not Facebook conspiracy theories 101. One thing is for sure: I sure wouldn’t want the responsibility of trying to fix it, nor would any of the so-called “protesters”, I promise you that. Yet here we are; and there they are.
I’ll conclude with how I began: That our behaviours should come from a place of respect for each other’s differences, not bullying and ignorance and name-calling. Put another way, we should always “Do unto others as we’d have them do unto us”.
There’s another biblical quote I like. It’s from 2 Corinthians, and seems appropriate to finish this piece with. It says,“This too, shall pass”.
Once it (whatever “it” is) does pass, the question we need to ask ourselves then is: “When I disagreed with others, did I act appropriately?”
*If these people don’t think they are free in Canada, they should move to North Korea, China or Afghanistan and see how their “right to protest” is tolerated.
Author Bio: David Knapp-Fisher
As founder of The Inspired Humans Project, David loves sharing inspirational stories. His TEDx talk, “Discipline or Regret, a Father’s Decision” been viewed over 112,000 times, and his book, “Punch Failure in The Face, The Buy It a Beer” has 36 five star reviews on amazon.ca.
David lives in Victoria B.C. and spends most of his time trying (& usually failing) to stump his son with movie trivia or planning his next big adventure; both while drinking great coffee, of course.