While the family travel blog has been on hiatus for a pretty significant time, I have had independent thoughts of late, and my last post did state that I should probably reflect more on the ongoing reality that is the Covid 22 pandemic, and just my life in general because that is what I do here, reflect on my life. I am also, for the second time in the strange times, taking a creative writing course, and I just need to get into better writing habits, so here we are.
I have been driven from the profession, that I have had a love hate relationship for, for the past 13 years due to budget constraints, dysfunctional HR procedures, other political machinations, and a cut-throat and highly competitive job market, where I do not interview as well as others. I expect, I am also just not the right person for various jobs I have interviewed for. In my low moments, I consider the possibility that I am just not a good teacher and this is why I am out of work, but generally recognise that I am, I think, pretty decent at what I do. What I did. Did, because I am now an instructional designer, which I know sounds made up, but I assure you is a real job. Suffice it to say, I enjoy my new job, it is nice to check out at 4:30pm everyday, and not think about work, although I have been having trouble sleeping lately as visions of proper PDF formatting have been plaguing my sub conscious as I try to drift to Nod.
I digress, if you are with me still I will get to the point. Or, start to anyway.
I last spoke of students in marginal situations being emotionally and mentally taxed by the shite reality of our current situation, which at times feels a bit like living in a minimum-security prison. We are free to do as we please so long as we do not desire to go anywhere. I will now expand this discussion to society as a whole.
What are we doing to each other?
Is it not just a little bit fucked up that our primary considerations in planning our social lives hinge on the medical and social history of the people we associate with? And that if we do not whole heartedly agree with everything that is happening we are lumped into one camp or another?
Before I continue. Yes, I am (now triple) vaxxed. I wear a mask when in public. I practice social distancing. Stay home with symptoms, all of that.
I am frustrated. I am fed up. I want my life back, and I recognise that this is selfish. I am still largely able to function as normal. With travel being a not insignificant exception. But, I also notice the way societal attitudes are changing. We have been a polarised culture for some time, but I feel like the pandemic has really accelerated this behaviour. It is less about we, and more about you and me. More us vs. them. No middle ground. No nuance. If you don’t buy this line of thinking, or embody that attitude, then you are one of them: cast out, a pariah. Whatever happened to discussion?
At the worst of times I fall victim to that, which I critique. “Send the protesters to the National Centre for Unvaxxed Covidiots” the mob cries, and I see their point, even “like” it. In my more sober moments though, I question the whole thing. I get frustrated when friends don’t want to go somewhere because there will be “others” there, who may not take the virus seriously. Even as I write this I recognise, I am likely labelling myself a “Free-dumb” seeker, and those same people are likely to withdraw from me just a little bit more. I subliminally resent people in my life who just flat out do not want to socialise, and I recognise that here too, this is a pretty asshole way to think, but I am trying to be honest with myself. As I said previously. It is hard to recall how you feel in the moment in retrospect. I fear that if any of these people I write about recognise, or think, that I am referring to them they will not want to be my friend anymore.
I take solace in the reality that: a. they are not likely to read this and: b. they are better people than me.
So what is the context of all of this? Omicron rages and yet we in this house remain fine. Institutions are under enormous pressure, hospitals, schools etc., but people are not dropping dead, most who are getting sick are coping as well as anyone does with a bad cold/flu. This is not the complete reality, but it is encouraging. Political football continues to play out here and abroad, examples are made, but the critical eye is lacking lost in the us vs. them polarisation wars. My second favourite tennis tournament is about to start and it is in the spotlight because Novak Djokovic is not vaxxed and is about to be deported, for a second time. I will close with my critique of that situation.
Mr. Djokovic has made some poor choices given the role he plays in society. He is not above everyone else, and maybe he should be held to a higher standard because, let’s face it, he is privileged. He has worked very hard to achieve this status, but there are two sets of rules in society: those that apply to people with power and influence, and those that apply to the rest of us. This is what happens when one person with influence tries to make an example of another person with influence.
Given all of this, he should have gotten vaccinated. He should have been smarter about where he was hanging out in the lead up to his travel to one of the most Covid restrictive countries in the world. That he was not is nothing short of arrogant, and ignorant. However, he followed the process, got his visa, was granted his visa, and were he not a superstar globally recognised figure, that would have been the end of it. His visa was then revoked upon entry, he challenged and this was overturned by a court in Australia. That should have been the end. Here starts the criticism for what happens next that I think is lacking. The Aussie immigration minister says he reserves the right to unilaterally expel him anyway, despite what the court says. This should be a cause for alarm, but it is not. I will grant, and support, that governments should reserve the right to use their full might to curb action that poses an extreme public threat, or is in the best interests of public safety, so I have not sided with the “freedom marchers” throughout this pandemic, because I believed government measures to be warranted (for the most part).
This though, is political posturing and an outright abuse of power. The Australian PM was not even bold enough to take any ownership of the situation deferring instead to his minister. If safety of Australians and what they have endured under their government's measures these last two years were the biggest concern regarding Djokovic playing the AO, then the Minister should have issued his visa revoking power immediately after the court’s decision, rather than wait until two days after the draw, which was delayed for nearly two hours by officials because they were expecting that very thing. Caging it in the way that they have has shown that political grandstanding, and making an example of Djokovic to prove that no one is above the law was the real goal here.
Why do I care? This is 10s of thousands of kilometres away involving the uber wealthy. Djokovic clearly screwed up, but I really don’t think given the stringent measures in place for athletes at the AO that he is at all a threat to public safety. He did as he was asked, acknowledged he made errors on his application, but a judicial review pardoned that. That should have been the end. The issue I am concerned with, is a precedent of politicians arbitrarily superseding the rule of an impartial court decision. In a democracy, this should be cause for alarm, but its not. All I see today are people crapping on Djokovic because they view him as an entitled elite anti-vaxxer (which he may be), but no critique for the government’s behaviour. Waiting until the eleventh hour in hopes of not having the democratic process playout before the tournament can begin play is dirty pool, and underhanded politicking, but not entirely unexpected. We should be criticizing more than just Djokovic’s poor judgement here I guess is my point, as that does concern us all. I can’t help but think that there is no way Federer would have received this treatment. (also acknowledging that there is no way Federer would have put himself in this position in the first place, end rant.)
Happily married to my beautiful wife Stephanie, and proud father of three beautiful girls, Aurora, Brynn and Clara. Instructional designer, writing when I find time.