Happy-go-lucky misunderstanding?

Protests continue around Canada with the Freedom Convoy continue to stand firm in Ottawa, all while reports speak on the frustration of the people in Ottawa as the occupation has kept them from living their lives freely.

At least this would be the case if this were February of 2022. The police came out in full force, as a result of the emergencies act, to remove all the people that held Ottawa hostage, with the convoy failing to get the attention of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – at least in the way they would have liked to see.

Instead, all the leaders, like Pat King and Tamara Lich, saw time in jail and were constantly put in court upon a bail hearing, with Lich being denied multiple times until Sunday, March 6, 2022.

Looking back at those three weeks in Ottawa, I noticed the irony of the residents and how they were feeling, because those feelings were exactly what the protestors wanted them to feel: the frustration of not living their lives freely. But were those actions justified?

Child psychologist Dan Seigel says that when children are deep in their feelings, whether anger or sadness, they wish to pass those feelings on to ensure the one that caused it feels the same way.

The protesters and their reaction were not far off from the feelings that children have; in fact, the very reaction speaks to a greater loss of control in our society, and that loss is the mental well-being of the people within.

Seigel encourages people to be mindful of what causes them to “flip their lid,” as he says, and then to communicate what causes that to arise. Essentially, flipping your lid means snapping, going over the edge, freaking out, being triggered, etc.; and then, the amygdala takes over from the prefrontal cortex, taking all control away from our logic and reasonable part of the brain. What transpired in Ottawa could be argued was largely a reflex of continuously being in a sympathetic state of the brain; in other words, constantly being stressed out and not thinking clearly.

The protestors have an unhealthy relationship with Canada right now. For one, the protestors feel great disdain for Prime Minister Trudeau, to the point that some would like to see him step down as prime minister, or worse, killed. Their emotions and feelings are a projection of their deepest feelings, whether anger or sadness, and as famed psychologist Carl Jung would say, “To understand people, look at children,” and I see a slew of adults that are acting out, wanting to pass their feelings to their perpetrators, i.e., Justin Trudeau and the liberal government.

There is a concern on the idea of freedoms lost, as the Emergencies Act was discussed in parliament (it has since resolved with Trudeau revoking the use of it once the convoy was removed), the conservatives fought tooth and nail against the liberals, saying that they have driven a wedge between everyday Canadians with the rhetoric that Trudeau espoused when declaring that some “are part of a fringe-minority”, and that he is moving towards the actions of a dictator; of course, democracy is set up so a government is voted in to make the best decisions for the people, even one such as this, which Trudeau reminds the conservatives of, saying that the people were fine with mandates, vaccine passports, and continuing to find a way forward, and that being the main reason the Liberal government was voted in at all.

Socrates feared this very thing with a democracy; that the one with the panacea would be hated and cursed for offering methods that can do any kind of harm, despite being an overall good for their country. The mandates that existed around the border and with travel has remained a federal problem, and the effect of lockdowns and not leaving our homes has had some terrible consequences on our mental well-being; however, with the small amount of data that we had about the virus, and the effect it has had – and continues to have – on people, it seemed like the best course of action, at the time, was a sacrificial one. A leader, after all, must make tough decisions that people don’t like sometimes.

The people in the protests have reason to receive some degree of sympathy in their frustration, but then why have so many people been able to find an understanding with what is going on? Are they right to think that some are merely “asleep,” while they are “awake?” The constant whining and complaining has brought people to the point of ignoring them and treating them as self-righteous idiots that don’t have a clue how vaccine’s work, or how the effects of an illness towards a society works.

Granted, the wishy-washy nature of the political fiasco that is parliament can lend itself to why the protestors are so angry. Perhaps it’s something all of us Canadians can agree with: parliamentarians waste a lot of time, because they are too busy bickering about nothing.

Featured image: The Calgary Freedom Rally protestors march through the streets of downtown Calgary on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. The protestors, organized by Ryan Audette of Calgary Freedom Central, march in support of the Freedom Convoy 2022, a trucker occupation of Ottawa. They march for freedom from any sort of mandate pertaining to COVID-19 and mandatory vaccination. The government of Alberta announced on Feb. 8, 2022, that the restriction exemption program (REP) would no longer be required, and that no further mandates would take place in the province of Alberta. (Photo by Alejandro Melgar/The Press)

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