Rarely have we seen an issue that is simultaneously so uniting and divisive.
It has been so all-consuming it is not even necessary to say its name to know what we’re talking about.
Treading the fine line between opinion and misinformation has been particularly challenging.
In trying times, positions become entrenched, nerves frayed and and sensitivities amplified.
And, try as we might to remain balanced and factual, we’re often accused of fomenting these things.
Amidst it all, however, we sometimes find a little glimmer of hope.
Such was the case with two letter writers, who, despite apparent differences, were ultimately able to engage in a private dialogue and find common ground.
Both responded to us again, not with letters for publication, but with personal notes about how gratifying they found the experience.
When it comes to COVID-19, it sometimes appears that we have become two solitudes, which, as in Hugh MacLennan’s great Canadian novel of the same name, are not only experiencing a failure to communicate, but more importantly, a lack of desire and/or will to communicate.
Or, to quote the British poet and author Rudyard Kipling: “East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet.”
Of course, that is the famous quote, and taken by itself, as it often is, as a metaphor for intractable conflict, it is discouraging.
The rest of the verse, however, shows Kipling’s intent for the beginning of the verse was more literal and it is the end of the verse that is more instructive.
East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet,
Til Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the Earth!