I need to stay away from making Facebook comments about the pandemic. Yesterday a pastor I follow on social media suggested the new vaccine mandates here in Manitoba barring unvaccinated people from many indoor spaces and the reinstatement of the mask requirement, will add bitterness to the divide between people who support those initiatives and those who don’t. The pastor suggested it is probably best not to enter into Facebook discussions about those topics and I agree. I would have to say that anytime I have done so I have regretted it later and have often taken my comments down or modified them.
Vaccination and masking protocols are simply too contentious and I have found arguing in Facebook comments only fans the flames and doesn’t change anyone’s minds. Don’t get me wrong within the last few days I have been sorely tempted to make a comment on the Facebook pages of people who have a different opinion than I do, but most of the time I have managed not to, and perhaps writing this blog post will hold me accountable to that.
Of course, response to mandatory government directives is a topic that needs to be discussed, and historians and psychologists, and social scientists will no doubt be doing research projects for decades to come as they try to figure out why some people had so much vaccine and mask hesitancy during the pandemic and others were so wholeheartedly enthusiastic about vaccines and masks.
I am glad too for the information I receive via newspapers and magazines from credible journalists and people who are experienced and respected in their fields. But the pandemic response is probably best not discussed in Facebook comments at least by people like me who aren’t experts in epidemiology or infectious diseases or social behavior or human rights law.
Some things lend themselves well to Facebook comments. A recent post of mine about the use of the old Eaton’s catalog, for example, was shared in several Facebook groups and I’ve loved reading and responding to comments about all the different ways people remember their families using the old catalogs.
On a Facebook page for Mennonite writers, I am part of an interesting discussion about how to write in the voice of people of different ages. These kinds of Facebook comment exchanges are helpful and interesting.
But at this point personal exchanges about the best approach to ending the pandemic seem to serve little purpose. It may be something we want to discuss again on social media in the future, but for right now I think it is best to show restraint. I hope writing this post will help to keep me accountable for doing just that.