If the verbiage in this space appears somewhat rust-tainted this week, it’s perhaps because your correspondent lost his platform through the six-month pandemic-related hiatus imposed on the North Wellington Community News.
When last we wrote, efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 – school closures, physical distancing requirements, etc. – were just getting underway. The message then was stay positive, as things appeared likely to get worse before they got better.
That’s about how it worked out, as shutdown and stay-apart measures slowed the spread to the point most businesses have reopened, albeit with restrictions in most cases; many recreational activities have resumed, at least in limited form; and school is back in session.
Ironically enough, today’s message is similar. Cases of the virus are rising around the province, if not specifically in Wellington County, and the government is ramping up gathering restrictions once again in response.
The arrival of a long-predicted second wave of COVID-19 should come as little surprise. It’s part of an understood cycle of this type of public health issue. It’s also almost certainly a by-product of the relaxation of restrictions and boundary-pushing and outright rejection of constraints in some quarters.
Rather than take it as a sign our spring and summer sacrifices were for naught, we need to imagine how much worse things would be right now had we not made the hard choices we did.
It appears we will again be challenged to alter our lifestyles for the collective good over the coming weeks. It helps that this time we can see from the way the curve was flattened last spring, that these endeavours have impact.
Give ‘em the boot
The Sept. 29 U.S. presidential debate between Democrat Joe Biden and some raving lunatic sparked calls for a re-examination of the format of such spectacles.
President Donald Trump’s constant interruptions of Biden and general hijacking of the debate have people suggesting new rules be imposed to prevent candidates talking over one another.
This is not merely a U.S. phenomenon, as party leadership and election campaign debates on this side of the mercifully-closed border often suffer from talk-over syndrome, turning what should be thoughtful airings of platforms into mudslinging free-for-alls.
One solution often offered is a switch that would allow a moderator to cut off an offender’s microphone. This seems along the right track, although a button connected to a trap door under the overzealous candidate’s podium would likely do more for ratings.
Seriously though, perhaps a three-step process could be implemented. First offence draws a “That’s one!” from the moderator. The cut-the-mike approach could be applied to a second offense. The third time, the overly- loquacious participant would be tossed from the remainder of the debate and his or her time given over to their opponents. In the case of a two-person faceoff like the recent Biden-Trump dust-up, that would amount to perhaps an hour-long prime-time commercial for the remaining campaigner.
Also, for some reason, the thought of someone yelling at Trump: “You’re outta here!” currently carries a special appeal. And it’s probably not just because we’re missing baseball.
National Newspaper Week
National Newspaper Week is observed this year Oct. 4 to 10.
Holding government to account, a primary function of media in normal times, becomes trickier and perhaps more critical than ever in extra-ordinary circumstances such as we face today. Newspapers, combined today with their online presence, continue to do much of the heavy lifting in this regard. Your continued support as a reader/advertiser is appreciated and important.