Note - This Call to Action has been entirely of my own design and Patrick knew nothing of it until I requested him to post a little “article” on his page - Tammy K
Christmas looks a little different this year. Since I was a child myself and all through the years of raising my kids and watching my grandchildren grow I’ve never lived in a world like this. No elementary school Christmas concerts. No long mall lineups full of beaming children waiting to sit on Santa’s knee. For the first time in the history of Canada we can be fined for having our families in for Christmas dinner. In a year where businesses have tanked and jobs have evaporated what could be more basic than sharing food at a table surrounded by the people we know and love? Yet many people are filled with a simple grief at the idea that December 25th will quietly pass by while they ache to hug their parents, grandparents, grandchildren. Still, some have chosen to live their lives as usual in spite of these cruel measures; and already there are plans for hiding vehicles in garages, carpooling, and meeting at remote locations where prying eyes are less likely to see open doors and open arms waiting to embrace family, friends, and life.
Back in the spring I was a mess. Every single Facebook page and news site was filled with threat and fear. In my gut I knew there was more to this than a virus but of course could not safely voice that opinion online. Then one day, in the comments under one of the daily pressers from Premier McNeil and Dr. Strang I saw a comment that invited me to this Facebook page promising “Facts… Not Fear”, and my Covid-19 life hasn’t been the same since.
Patrick Manning, and his inFACT page has been a beacon in a very long, dark night. He has provided sourced and verifiable data that put so many things into perspective. Whether it has been the daily cases/hospitalizations/deaths/recoveries in Nova Scotia and beyond, or scientific articles that provide another dimension or different side of the story entirely, he has taught us that we can trust our gut instincts and that the mainstream media (MSM) is NOT our friend. He encourages us to think and to never lose our humanity. He has corrected us when we’re misinformed but even more than that he has protected us from trolls, propagandists, and fearmongers. Countless times, I’ve watched him step in like some gallant big-brother standing up to the playground bullies, and then with a nod, he disappears into cyberspace. His passion for freedom, human rights, and human decency is evident. When we aren’t safe in many other online communities we are always safe, and welcome, here. I cannot tell you how many days I have felt like I was emotionally at rock bottom and popped into this page to enjoy some repartee from our favourite nurse in Yarmouth, some motivational joie de vivre from a certain NFLD shopkeeper in Bridgewater, a touch of humanity from the Mom who struggles to wear a mask and keeps close tabs on the nuances of each new restriction.
As utterly valuable as the information that Patrick shares has been, what is even more important is this accidental community that sprang up in the midst of what was meant to separate, divide, and conquer us. I love old TV shows and sometimes, unbidden, the theme song from Cheers springs to mind when I’m bantering lightheartedly with my newfound friends on this page:
Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you've got
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they're always glad you came
You want to be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same
You want to be where everybody knows your name
The government’s response to COVID-19 has been increasingly destructive as every month goes by. Businesses, jobs, mental health, physical health, basic human freedoms have all been taken away in shocking ways, ways we never imagined could happen in Canada and we’re learning that in order to stand against it we must stand together. We have been coaxed into thinking there’s nothing we can do so that we do nothing. Five people in front of a government building is ignorable, laughable even. But 5000 is the beginning of a movement. One person fighting a ticket in court doesn’t even make the news. But 1000 being provided with lawyers is the beginning of a Charter Rights defense. One small light in the night barely breaks through the dark. But a million of them can be seen from space. (NASA discovered that Christmas lights makes certain areas 50% brighter than on an average day).
Sometimes when we think about a donation to a cause or program we feel like our contribution would be embarrassingly small and not enough to make a difference. I’m challenging everyone, starting with myself, to stop thinking about how little I can do as “one” and start thinking about how much we can accomplish together. A great place to put that into practice is right here on this page. Patrick has done so much for us this year. Can you even imagine the time put into daily updates, articles, calls to action, email campaigns, answering private messages, creating petitions, reading policies and disseminating that information to us?? He has asked for nothing other than providing a few ads to click and a donate button which he seems loathe to mention. COUNTLESS hours spent keeping us informed and sane.
Government restriction have hit many of us hard. I clean and manage a vacation home and an Airbnb. Because of travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines our winter bookings have all canceled and no new ones are coming in. Suddenly, my weekly income just… vanished. So I understand how many of you must be feeling the pinch, the uncertainty. On our own we know we can’t do much to support this very worthy page. But together…? I’m challenging everyone to hit the DONATE button and commit $5 to Patrick’s efforts. I think most of us can manage 5 bucks. If you can’t, donate $2. The point is that one $5 bill seems pointless but if 500 of us donate $5 today we can send $2500 to someone who has worked his butt off to be there for us. Let’s show Patrick how very valuable his work has been this year. How very valuable HE has been this year. If you don’t know how to donate online reach out to someone you know who follows inFACT and ask them to help you send $5. We’re not going to do one little donation alone. We’re going to do a lot of little donations TOGETHER. That should be one of the biggest lessons we take away from this crazy 2020. That life may never be the same again, but we CAN and WILL be ok if we stick together.