COVID-19: Argentina vs. Canada

A couple of times during my trip in Argentina I’ve forgotten to wear my mask.

Yesterday I was at the ATM and an elderly lady walked in and laughed at me. I discovered immediatelyt that I was maskless.

I had totally forgotten to bring my mask with me.

Unlike in Canada I did not fear her reaction. There was no finger wagging, no yelling in my face, no lecturing, she didn’t preach at me, didn’t tell me I’m a terrible human being who is killing people. She didn’t try to take a video of me to publicly shame me later.

None of the shit that you’ll get in North America.

Maybe they have a healthier attitude about life. I don’t know, I haven’t been able to figure it out.

In Argentina all bars, restaurants, gyms, grocery stores, daycares, are open. They have reduced hours, but not by much.

Over the last couple of years I’ve really attempted to unpack the shaming that exists in Canada. It’s rampant, and used as a weapon. COVID-19 is a perfect vehicle for Canadians to lash out at their neighbours. But why? Why are Canadians like this?

Italian and Argentine culture differ from Canada’s lack of culture in an obvious way for me. During lockdown Canadians attack one another, in fact they relish shaming people into conforming. Whereas in Italy and Argentina people attack the government and support their neighbours.

Canadians love to follow rules, I get that. Rules are important, they keep order. But they don’t necessarily keep people civil. In the beginning of COVID, when we entered lockdown there were many reports of people “tattling” on their neighbours who went out for a jog. Canadians love doing shit like this. They just love it. It gives them a sense of moral superiority.

I’ve written a lot about my observations of Canadian culture, which offends some, who tell me that’s not their experience. Okay, well, that’s fine, it is mine. I’ve been heavily exposed to WASP culture for the past 20 years, and I don’t believe that any of my observations are incorrect.

In fact, those observations are illuminated when I see how Argentina is handling the pandemic. They have more cases here, but aren’t diving head first into panic.

Long-term care homes, though they do exist here, are not really a thing in Argentina. The family reveres the elderly and all chip in to take care of their aging parents, or grandparents. They don’t have a lot of old people dying like they do in Canada. It’s not as much a concern, but they also have a healthier attitude around death. “People die,” I’ve been told.

I’m not even sure if that’s it, because Italians revere their elderly as well, yet so many of them died this time last year.

I was invited to a pool party yesterday and I turned them down. For starters I was worried about the optics, and how it would anger people back home if I posted pics of me surrounded by 20 people in a backyard of some rural South Amerian home.

I’ve tried to explain to some Argentines the difference with how we’re handling the pandemic and they think I’m mad. They keep mentioning mental health and how important it is to see friends and family. I counter and reveal that in Canada, that’s simply not a talking point.

In the beginning, from March 2020 to the summer, Argentines were under heavy lockdown, and they were not permitted to leave their homes, or to even go for a run.

But, in typical fashion, they began to protest. Protests here are very different than in Canada, they are respected and considered to be a part of the fabric of the nation.

Whereas in Canada people like being told what to do, and love telling other people what to do.

In Argentina, they rebel against the government. And about three months into lockdown that’s what they did. I’ve been told several times that ‘we’re adults’. That is a glaring difference. Canadians are so used to being coddled, of infantilizing themselves.

Look at how the woke movement has taken hold in Canada, how people are now trying to legislate not only what people can say, but what they can think.

Feelings outweight facts. People dismiss facts if they contradict their narrative.

That doesn’t exist here in Argentina, from what I see.

I asked a few Argentines if they use the word LATINx here. And they laughed, “oh no, that’s for silly radical feminists in North America.”

Why are white middle aged women screaming at people about the inclusiveness of a made up word like latinx when Latin Americans don’t use said word themselves?

Because they love telling people what to do. They love to lecture and preach. They love to talk down to people. It’s a Canadian trait. COVID-19 has provided them with ample opportunity to wag their fingers at those they deem worthy of their scorn.

Argentina has a much healthier view on how to handle the pandemic. They’re far more civil, kind and supportive of one another. They’re what North Americans, or what the woke, claim to be: compassionate.

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