The things we don’t regret keeping are a strong measure of what we don’t value. COVID’s 2 year anniversary asks us this simply through what we commemorate:
- many value festivals enough to take the risk of mass infection. Will we?
- did we miss the larger gatherings of Christmas? What shall we keep of them?
- who of us gathered solemnly at our letterbox last ANZAC Day to commemorate the fallen, rather than by the thousand at a cenotaph? Will we try?
- did we do anything specific for Labour Day? Arbour Day? Valentines Day? Guy Fawkes?
- are we really missing the Waitangi Day speeches and protests?
- Prime Minister Ardern is determined at least to get people together for her wedding, but not without risk-induced postponement: would you?
- family reunions foregone; reconstituted or snuffed?
- will we make the effort to commemorate our dead, when we were prevented?
- when indeed is the last time we made any effort to go out?
Will we regather our emotional energy and revive what it means to be human, or is solitude and loneliness a willing price we pay for lethargy and risk evasion?
COVID doesn’t just have costs to rights, politics and mobile.
COVID asks: what actions demonstrate the truth of our values, what are we discarding, what real effort measures our humanity to ourselves and to each other.