After a six-year hiatus, A Grey World returns. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll explain what led to the gap and why I finally decided to return to the site.
Initial Retirement Plans
When I was planning to retire from the high-tech world at the end of 2015, all my friends and colleagues asked me what I planned to do with my time. For me, that was an easy question to answer. I had started dabbling in video back in the late 1990s. Then, I’d spent some time shooting motor-sports video. This sold me on video as a fun thing to do. But as I became more skilled at video work, I thought that I should use that skill for more serious purposes.
For a long time, I’d been surprised at how many people put little thought into the various positions they’d take on issues. These could be very serious topics such as politics, religion, immigration, and so on. People were often quite hardened in their positions and weren’t really interested in new information and adjusting their positions accordingly. This led to different tribes of viewpoints and, too often, demonization of the other side–looking at the other side as subhuman, stupid, or just not like “us”. At the least, this is a distasteful situation.
It seemed to me that this would be a better place to live if we could all get along together a lot better than we do today. That was the genesis of this site. Although these ideas occurred to me around 2010, I decided then that this would be what I’d do when I retired.
When I finally did retire, it took me about six months to get serious about the task of creating this new website. I had to learn a lot about setting up modern websites. I learned WordPress, set up a hosted virtual server, and set up several websites, including this one. Then, I started writing. I posted several articles to the site and then waited for success. Well, that’s not quite true. I spent the last third or so of my career in the High Tech industry as a product manager so I knew a thing or two about marketing. However, after a while I just went on to other things. My wife joined me in retirement, we bought a trailer, and we started travelling a lot. It seemed like my moment had passed.
Then, in January 2022, the so-called Freedom Convoy arrived in downtown Ottawa. I’d survived, from afar, the Trump presidency in the United States, and the January 6th attack on the Capitol. My wife and I had muddle through the Covid-19 pandemic. I thought I’d managed to let go of all that crap. But the Freedom Convoy was just too close to home. If you want to know my thoughts on them, have a look at The Freedom Con blog posting. What gave me such heartburn was that this was something I’d seen in the United States but not here. Yes, I’d heard about grumblings “Out West”, as we say in Ontario. And, indeed, the Freedom Convoy organizers were mostly from Alberta. But I didn’t expect to see such behaviour right here where I lived.
This Can’t Be Happening in Canada
Canada is a civil nation full of people who care for and respect one another. There was no way that any Canadians would occupy the downtown area of the capital city of Canada and blare dozens of truck horns 24 hours a day around the clock, interrupting the sleep of thousands of downtown residents. And yet, here they were. As un-Canadian as that behaviour was, they had the gall to wrap themselves in Canadian flags. Truly astonishing.
On my own, I could have dealt with my profound disappointment in some fellow Canadians. However, a few people I know and care deeply about suffered from serious mental stress because of this discontinuity in what it means to be Canadian. A close friend of mine retreated into his basement workshop, refusing to read any newspapers (hey, we’re old and we like newspapers) for an entire week. He also dropped off of regular electronic communication. Another friend’s wife would break out in tears a few times a day. That’s how profoundly this affected just my small circle of friends. For people who actually lived downtown, I can’t imagine the distress this caused.
A Grey World Returns
The effect that the so-called Freedom Convoy had on my dear friends finally spurred me into action. As the movie saying goes, I was mad as hell and I wasn’t going to take this anymore. It also led me to firmly believe that the world was a rather uncivil place and that I could do something about it.
I started with the idea that instead of writing another article for A Grey World, I’d do a video. Also, for the first time, I wanted to take a specific point of view instead of looking at both sides. The reason was simple: There wasn’t really a reasonable “other side”. For the vast majority, there is no good reason to fear a COVID-19 vaccine. There’s no good reason to avoid wearing a mask—it’s a minor inconvenience—and it saved tens of thousands of lives in Canada. How could there be another side? Hence, the new category on this site, Advocacy.
There is, however, a lot of story to tell about the deep and pervasive misinformation that drives what is generally called right-wing extremism that leads to things like the so-called Freedom Convoy. I think that most of the people supporting the Freedom Convoy are good people. It’s just that they are tragically misinformed. That is something that I can try to do something about. But that’s another posting. 😀