The scenes witnessed here in Prince Edward County these past few weeks provide further evidence of a preexisting condition far worse than the COVID-19 pandemic – selfishness.
I remember back only a few short weeks ago when we were under full lockdown in order to protect one another. There was a sense of teamwork and community, a consideration of what others are sacrificing for the greater good. How quickly things have changed with the introduction of increased personal freedoms. It’s as if we’ve been given the green light to return to caring for no one other than ourselves.
We’ve seen and heard stories of disrespectful behaviour in our community, at our local establishments and attractions, and on our crumbling roads.
Trust me I know. My family has lived here longer than most. I move heavy equipment frequently on the roads in the summer, I’ve worked in retail and rental operations, and even worked at the beach for a few summer’s in my youth. I’ve seen it all first hand. I understand that we’re left with a vestige of what ‘the county’ once was, and that there is little to stand in the way of change.
This last week was the worst in memory as a number of factors converged to create the perfect storm: a global pandemic, an unrelenting heat wave, social unrest, a closed southern border, and a stressed economy. It seems there are those who feel since they’re spending their precious tourist dollar, they have every right to be rude, discourteous, and inconsiderate to those of us who live and work here. They seem to treat our beautiful community like another piece of disposable consumer waste to be thrown to the side of the road when they’re finished with it.
At the same time, there are also those of us who feel as though since we got here first, we have a right to construct a Trumpian-style border wall to keep out the invading foreigners. That’s just not very realistic or Canadian.
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that like it or not, we’re all in this together. We’re all extremely lucky to have a place like PEC to call home or to visit. However, if we can’t learn to live in consideration of each other, then what good are the freedoms that we have fought and worked so hard to enjoy?