Keep Calm, and Shut Up About It

Screenshot 2020-04-08 12.02.37

Shouldn't we always be mindful and thoughtful towards the people in our community? This question's been on mind a lot this week., I've seen example after example of people turning the COVID-19 Shutdown into some "holier-than-thou" exercise. And frankly, it's p*ssing me off.

Don't get me wrong. A crisis brings out the best in (most) people. But there is a vocal minority who see it as an opportunity to jump on social media and sanctify themselves. Worse, they see it as an opportunity to judge others.

There appear to be a lot more people giving themselves a pat on the back. Kudos for respecting social distancing but come on folks - are you that blind that you don't see through your BS?

I joined our local Facebook COVID-19 Support Group - you know, local volunteers to help the elderly and those who've gone into self-isolation with shopping and meds.

I left within 48 hours tired at the sanctimonious spouting. Casting aspersions on people they thought were breaking the Government's guidelines. No backbone or humanity to ask the person in question (at a respectable 2 meters of course) if they realised they were breaking the guidelines. No attempt to understand if there was an underlying reason that may require some genuine community support. You know - a single parent or a parent with a key-worker partner on nightshift for example.

Instead, there were cries for "name and shame them!" or "take their picture and post it here if you see them again!". Then they returned to packing food parcels and polishing their halos (I presume).

I've witnessed this passive aggressiveness so many times, and frankly, it's tedious and sad. It lacks integrity and smacks of self-aggrandisement.

I would prefer to see some genuine empathy and see it taken off social media and moved into the real world. Speak kindly to them, ask questions, try to understand what may be happening in their world - #bekind (remember that short-lived social media phenomenon??!).

And why save this "plucky bulldog spirit" for a crisis? Where is it the other 365 days of the year? Shouldn't we always be checking on our elderly neighbour? Can't we always offer a bit of our time to the single parent who may not get respite without assistance? Why don't we smile and say 'hello' as we pass people on the street all of the time?

And why do we need social validation for our acts of kindness? Shouldn't the action be a reward in of itself? Come on, folks, stop fooling yourselves - you're not fooling me. Are you addressing some unresolved insecurity?

I'll sign off with a quote from Harry S Truman, the 33rd President of the USA:

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."

Think about that before you post your next saintly act, or worse, demonise someone else for their apparent lack of protocol.