Dear anti-mandate protesters, please go home. You're not proving anything except perhaps how ignorant you are.
The problem is, even if protesters are reading this, some of them are so wrapped up in their own self-validating circles they'll just tell themselves this is another case of mainstream media trying to brainwash them. I'd have more luck teaching my cat to tap dance.
This is the age of people who treat Facebook posts as facts, providing they reaffirm what they already believe, a very vocal minority of people so angry at the world they will jump on board with any movement that gives them a chance to "stick it to the man".
Early on in the Covid-19 pandemic, I covered an anti-lockdown protest in Rotorua. All nine or 10 of the participants were holding signs but they weren't even all on the same page. One sign read "ban 1080!", another said "abortion is a sin", while others insulted our Prime Minister.
It was as if those who love a good protest went out to the shed and just grabbed the first sign they saw. Is that standing in solidarity or stupidity? I did not feel any more enlightened following the interaction.
Everyone has a right to protest for what they believe in, I do not deny that. But when you start interfering with the livelihood of others, you've gone too far.
I've watched the protests in Wellington during the last week wondering how we got to this point. Throughout history, we've been vaccinated against so many different things, why so much anger and hatred now?
One obvious contributing factor is social media. People spout hate and nonsense on Facebook and their like-minded friends back them up. They attack anyone who disagrees, to the point that most people get sick of trying to talk sense to them and remove themselves as friends.
This leaves the protesters with a social media feed based on those who agree with them. Everything they see backs up their own conspiracies, no matter how ridiculous. What we're seeing in Wellington is a real-world example of that phenomenon.
I wonder what they expect to happen? Do they expect the Government to say "Hey, you know what, we were wrong. We've decided the medical and governmental experts who advise us are wrong and we are going to take back every decision we've made in the last two years"?
Perhaps they are trying to get other New Zealanders on board? Well, I drove back from Hawke's Bay at the end of Waitangi Weekend and seeing the number of traffic delays caused by protesters I doubt they won themselves any new fans.
I don't care if you don't want to get vaccinated. You do have that choice and that is your right. But you have to accept that being unvaccinated makes you a risk to the rest of the community and there are consequences, there will be places you can no longer go and your career could be at risk.
People keep saying it's no worse than a cold and we should let it rip through the country. I have friends who are immunocompromised, one in particular who would almost certainly die if he were to catch Covid-19.
So, sure, you can decline a vaccination. But the mandates are there to ensure you do not put other people's lives at risk.
Watching this vocal minority go about their business can be quite disheartening for those of us who choose to listen to the experts and abide by the law. However, I have found some peace in the knowledge that it is very much a minority.
The protests are loud and passionate but the fact that less than 5 per cent of eligible Kiwis remain unvaccinated tells us this group is actually a small one.
I'll almost certainly get hate for this editorial. The anti-mandate crowd seeks out opposing opinions like a heat-seeking missile. But that's okay, I'm more interested in protecting our vulnerable.