That COVID ‘Cr@p’

Not everyone will agree with you.

I understand that. I experience that from time to time. Recently I have had a handful of conversations about the legitimacy of the pandemic, the vaccines, the governments response and the government itself. Normally I take it in my stride, recognise that nothing I am going to say to that person will change their mind and nothing they will say to me will get me closer to agreeing with them. So I hear them out, say thanks for sharing and finish the conversation.

A few weeks back I was talking with someone about donating money and their response was, if they donated, “I don’t want it to go to that Covid crap. I want it to help people not kill them.”

This comment stung and it made me so angry.

That covid crap which has killed millions worldwide.

Which has crippled economies and health care systems.

Which devastated India this year.

Which is currently ravaging through Indonesia.

Which has kept millions of families apart.

That covid crap?

We may have different opinions on this. Not everyone has had the same experience of it. But Opportunity International Australia has lost staff members in the field, family members of staff, and clients to this pandemic. Calling it covid crap is pretty rich as you sit in your ivory tower of Australia.

Somehow I managed to keep calm, thank them for their time and respond out of generosity. But some days this is harder than others.

Oops, I Did it Again

I know not to read the comments. I know that.

It’s something that I tell other people about social media – “Don’t read the comments!”

But, well I forgot for some reason. I don’t know why. When I came across a meme featuring Prime Minister Scott Morrison, put together by people bemoaning about how Australia gives $4 billion worth of foreign aid to other countries and not to our struggling farmers, I should have kept scrolling. But I didn’t. Rookie mistake.

The comments were different versions of “this is disgraceful, let’s look after our own first!” and of course “Charity begins at home!”, not to mention numerous comments on how awful all of our ‘corrupt’ politicians are.

As I read through these comments from people, whom I would consider ignorant and uneducated on the wider issues around foreign aid and global economics, I was stuck. I disagreed with everything that was being said and much was based on misinformation, which made me angry. I imagined that the type of people who are commenting would be those who are unwilling to change their opinion, or have an educated discussion, or any sort of discussion with anyone who disagreed with them without it turning into an argument with personal attacks and name-calling.

I found myself asking, if generosity is what I talk about and seek to live out, how can I be generous to these people? What does generosity look like in this situation?

I think it starts with self-reflection and asking some hard questions.

Am I willing to change my opinion?

Do I get argumentative with people who disagree with me?

How can I serve the discussion around issues where there is conflict?

The answer to the first two questions is ‘it depends’, which is a deeper conversation for another time.

The third question is about how I can serve the discussion, the answer is to participate in it, which is what the next post will be about…