The Freedom Convoy was originally created to protest vaccine mandates for crossing the United States border, but later turned into a protest about Covid-19 restrictions in general. While many of the drivers and activists partaking in the convoy do it in good faith, the forces behind them have nothing to do with freedom or health, and everything to do with power and wealth.
It is very sad that such an important issue as our health has been hijacked from the public, as well as from health professionals, who are the ones to whom we should listen. Instead, each side, for and against compulsory vaccination and mask mandates, pulls its way not because of health concerns, for most of the time, but because political and industrial entities are paying top dollar for people to push the agenda that benefits them financially or politically. As for people’s health, it is inconsequential. Since there is no profit in caring for the public, there is no reason to promote it.
As I see it, the only benefit from the struggles erupting over vaccine and mask mandates is that we will realize our true nature. In the end, each side is so focused on winning that it is impossible to know who is right, who is wrong, or even if there are right and wrong in this clash.
The solution to the questions of who is right and what is the right thing to do will come only when we change human society from the basis. The virus is dissolving the fabric of society precisely in order to force us to rebuild it, and rebuild it right.
Reconstructing society must begin where society is weakest—in our attitude toward others. Only when we begin to treat others with consideration first, and finally with concern, other aspects of society will begin to improve, as well. Until we initiate this transformation, matters will continue to deteriorate. If we do not reverse course in time, society will collapse.
War, any war, never leads to peace. A war ends when one or more parties lose, or when the parties run out of power, funds, soldiers, or any combination of the above. It does not end because the parties want peace.
The only way to turn enemies into friends is through explanation. Once people are too exhausted to fight, they will have no choice but to listen. Then it will be possible to talk to them about mutual dependence, the benefits of cooperation, the advantages of peaceful relations, and other ideas that pride and vanity shun while we are strong.
Interestingly, the Hebrew word for peace is shalom, which comes from the word shlemut (wholeness/complementation). It means that we are at peace only when we complement one another and together make up a whole. To do that, we must look at every problem from every angle, and embrace all perspectives.
Our sages expressed this notion in various ways, some of which are quite poetic. The book Likutey Halachot (Assorted Rules), for example, writes, “Vitality is mainly through unity, by all the differences being included in the source of the unity. For this reason, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is the great rule … to include in unity and peace. The vitality, sustenance, and correction of all of creation are mainly by people of differing views becoming included together in love, unity, and peace.”
Similarly, Raaiah Kook wrote, “Any division between … one collective and another … builds worlds. Since everything is improvement and construction, there is no reason to speak bitterly, but to announce the greatness that both sides are doing, and that together, they are perfecting the everlasting structure and are correcting the world. Then, … the love will grow according to the intensity of the hate, and the connection will grow according to the size of the separation.”
Only if we approach our dispute with this positive and proactive attitude, do we have a chance of turning the deepening divisions in society into greater unity. If we insist on fighting through the end, our society will end before the battle ends.
Protesters hold signs during the Anti-Vaccine Mandate rally. Protesters gathered in Queen’s Park, Toronto for the second consecutive weekend in solidarity with the Freedom Convoy of Truckers protesting vaccine mandates. (Photo by Shawn Goldberg / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)