The general respect for the new year is Happy New Year to someone. But unless 2022 actually offers us something new, it will be difficult to find happiness. The most striking thing about 2021 is how little it differs from 2020.
2020 was a disastrous year for most of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic began to spread earlier in the year, causing fear, instability and financial damage to the entire globe. The panicked government has imposed restrictions on work, travel and social gatherings in hopes of curbing the spread of the disease. All of us were worried, but as the local government told us, many of us knew that the blockade would have to be a little longer than “two weeks to flatten the curve.” I was relieved.
Two weeks have been months, and now it can be measured in years. Companies opened and closed as the pandemic wave came and went. People were at home on Easter 2020, with the guarantee that they could visit their families in the summer. Summer vacation was postponed and people stayed home, but the state told them they could meet again at a rally on Christmas. The infection surged at Christmas and we were trapped again. “The New Year will be better!” I was relieved.
Well, 2021 went back and forth, and it was almost the same as in 2020.
Not only did nothing change, but most Canadians didn’t ask for or request changes.
Indeed, I saw occasional protests against government regulations in major cities across the country. These protests do not develop into actions large enough to draw the attention of Canadian decision makers, much less change the direction of their decisions. Demonstrations were often dominated by people with some suspicious views, to say the least, and never brought out a remarkable number of average Canadians. The Canadians claimed to be angry with the pandemic restrictions, but not enough to go out and protest them.
Canadians had the ultimate opportunity to pursue real change in the fall of 2021. We held a general election. We saw the elections last for months. As expected, the fall campaign was centered around a pandemic discussion. Many questions were asked about the extent of the government’s pandemic response and the amount of money it borrowed to continue.
Canadians overwhelmingly chose the status quo when given the opportunity to express their desire for change in a way that was as easy, safe and potentially effective as voting in elections. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has returned to power with about the same number of supporters as when he disbanded parliament and called for elections. Canadians may be afraid of a pandemic and fear of the federal government’s response to it, but not enough to overcome the fear of change.
People see the New Year as a time to embrace rejuvenation and a new beginning. It’s time to get rid of bad habits and embrace new ones. We need to look back over the last two years and ask ourselves what we can do to improve what is to come. I think most people agree that the last two years are terrible, but are most people ready to leap and embrace change?
The COVID-19 pandemic today does not seem to be nearing its end than February 2020. Most of the population is vaccinated, but the number of cases has increased significantly due to the new Omicron variant. Blockage, stress, and restrictions again. We are always told that we now have to make a sacrifice so that we can profit later. It’s been two years now. When will the benefits come?
I don’t know what the most direct path from a pandemic is, but with our two years of pandemic experience under the belt, we can list a lot of things that don’t work. Why do we keep trying them?
In our third year of living in the COVID-19 era, are we still ready to try something different?
I am optimistically looking forward to 2022. We hope to have a year in which we overcome the pandemic and begin to enjoy free movement and a prosperous life without social constraints. I think we can get there. But first, we need to embrace an attitude of change.
This year, don’t make the same old tired resolution to quit smoking or lose weight. Stand up for yourself and decide to tell your political leaders that it’s time to do something else.
Otherwise, 2023 will be indistinguishable from the previous two years.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.