OPINION DIVIDED OVER APPLAUSE
Back in March last year, the majority of us stood on our doorsteps on Thursday evenings and clapped to say thank you to the men and women of the NHS that were working so hard during the outbreak of coronavirus. That then morphed quietly into “Clap for Carers” as recognition was extended to all healthcare workers and carers, carrying on for a period of ten weeks, with people not only clapping but banging pots and pans, ringing bells…and there were even a few who thought it was a good idea to let off fireworks.
As lockdown ended though and people hoped the worst was over, the ritual ground to a halt and the neighbourhoods and celebrity video clips slowly fell back into silence. And so here we are once more, as this time we are being asked to “Clap for Heroes”, an extended version of the original idea that includes all key workers, postal workers, delivery drivers, teachers and more..but has the appetite for the endless applause died out?
It seems a lifetime ago when we entered the first lockdown and there is a very different atmosphere now to the one we had back then. The sometimes forced optimism of rainbows in windows and clapping on the doorstep seems to have run it’s course and the overwhelming opinion of both the general public and the NHS staff and key workers seems to be – please don’t do it.
Below: Rainbow windows and applause in Lockdown One. But have those days gone?
Sadly there does appear to be less respect and gratitude towards our Healthcare workers this time round, as the past year has seen the increase of covid deniers and political arguments as well as extreme fatigue and even apathy. No longer do we share rainbows in the sunshine, we share arguments online, as those we once recognised for their courage and hard work are left on the sidelines having to defend themselves against imbecilic groups that claim the whole situation is complete fabrication as well as those whose anger, misery and frustration has just reached boiling point. While this doesn’t apply to everyone, it’s still a bitter pill to swallow for those who were once showered with thanks and praise on a weekly basis.
So isn’t that a good reason to start clapping again? To show our respect once more and let people know we are truly grateful for all they are going through? The consensus from those working on the front line appears to be no, please don’t, as they call on people to forgo the event and just stay at home to prevent putting additional pressure on the NHS. Part of the problem may be that despite the initial idea starting out as a socially distanced doorstep event, it morphed over time as neighbours and friends crept closer and closer together, meeting on streets and turning the event into something it was never intended to be. When politics and fireworks were added to the Thursday event, it was clear it was time to stop, as the initial show of respect was used by some as a reason to gather in a party atmosphere and by others to start a downwards spiral of political digs, making a mockery of the whole concept.
So with the first “Clap for Heroes” being arranged for 8pm tonight, will you be joining in the new Thursday night ritual? The frosty nights and rapidly expanding covid cases are a far cry from those initial sunny days and optimism… and so far, it’s looking as if the upcoming event lacks support from all sides of the fence.
Are you a key worker? Will you be joining in the clap tonight? Please comment and share your feelings on the subject below.
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