Well, that certainly seems to be the case. It’s reached the point where I’m almost afraid to check the news headlines. Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Northern Ireland with record numbers of hospital admissions and deaths. Over 1400 have now died since March and there have been over 78,000 positive cases. Hospital occupancy rates are running at 103% and people are now being told not to attend unless it’s an emergency.
Northern Ireland is currently two weeks into a six week lockdown. Yesterday it was announced that exams were being cancelled and schools would remain closed until at least mid-February. Only essential stores are open, working from home is strongly encouraged if at all possible and the overriding message is very clear – to stay at home. Add Brexit to the mix and it’s a baffling, frightening time for all of us. And then there’s America…
It was like something from a movie last night as we watched protestors storming the steps of Capitol Hill and forcing their way into Congress. I’m no expert on the American constitution or politics but it seemed wrong. Very wrong. As wrong as the violence following the Black Lives Matter protests. All encouraged by a man who now hid a short distance away in the White House. A man who seems to be on the verge of destroying the nation he claims to love and serve.
Who knows what the hours, days and weeks ahead hold for us all. These are frightening, baffling times. Social media is awash with conspiracy theorists, COVID deniers and anti-vaccers. At times I despair of humanity and the lack of compassion I see everywhere. There is so much hate, a lack of willingness to listen and accommodate the views of others. A nasty strain of illiberal liberalism is rife on social media.
What happened to robust but courteous debate. Extremists are taking control on either side of the political and social spectrum. If you don’t agree with their screaming and shrieking then you are the enemy and should be cancelled with immediate effect. Many of us are afraid of expressing a point of view for fear of being shouted down. Intimidation and harassment are everywhere and there seems no end to it. Has the world finally gone mad?