FINDING JOY is innately human. Even in stressful times, people find joy.
This holiday season, despite restrictions, people still found ways to enjoy the season. Zoom meetups for Christmas, for New Years, and times in between connected people. The outdoors were especially busy, with large numbers out enjoying skating on Inks Lake, cross country skiing at Stake Lake, and bonfires at Cooney Bay. The pall of COVID hung over everything, but people found ways to take pleasure.
Normally, I go to see my sister over the holidays. She lives a long ways away, and the winter break is usually the time we get to see each other. Almost every year I go. This year, I went as far as booking the tickets. But then, both here, and where she lives, the public health notices were to avoid nonessential travel.
As much as I would have liked to have gone, I decided my trip definitely wasn’t essential. I rebooked my ticket to a future date, and if required, I’ll rebook it again.
What seems to me to be essential is spending time with someone who is dying. I opened my email the other day and there was a sad message of someone whose grandparent had died of COVID. Only two of the relatives could visit them before they died, and then only briefly.
Even in the time of great loss, the relatives adhered to public health edicts that limited visitors. They took what small comforts they could, while following the restrictions as best as possible.
As the list grows of politicians who decided to travel to Hawaii, Arizona, California, St. Bart, and beyond over the holiday period, I want to paraphrase Leona Helmsley, an American businesswoman and convicted felon, who said: “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”.
For me, it seems it is time for a new quote “We don’t sacrifice. Only little people sacrifice.”
Whatever the politicians were thinking as to why they needed to travel, it is clear they completely disconnected themselves from the little people.
It is not just that the politicians ignored the very directives against nonessential travel that their governments put in place that is so galling. What is equally galling is that they lack the imagination to find pleasures under restrictions, but instead need to flee the country to find a place to celebrate the holiday. All around me, I saw people who enjoyed the holidays without travelling to other countries. Is it too much to ask our politicians to do the same?
What is galling as well is their blatant ignoring of nonessential travel restrictions when people are barely able to spend time with a dying relative, something far more important.
Not every politician flouted the travel restrictions. News is no B.C. MLAs of any party travelled internationally over the holidays, and all our local Kamloops politicians stayed put. Good for them. But for those that choose to ignore the travel restrictions, the voters await in the next election.
Meanwhile, here’s to the little people who have been finding small pleasures as COVID restrictions continue. Here’s to the little people who face grief under such adversity. It is their courage and spirit that will get us through this, even as some choose not to sacrifice.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.