In a recent ad by Joe Kennedy, who’s running for one of the U.S. Senate seats in Massachusetts, he talks about how now there’s “talk to go back to normal. Our normal was broken.”
As far as political ads go, it’s effective. I began to think: exactly what was normal, and what the heck is a new normal going to look like?
The so-called “old” normal was when people looked the other way at things like police brutally, lack of education, lousy healthcare, homelessness. These became the “norm,” and as long as it wasn’t affecting them, people just went on with their lives. Things like that didn’t happen in their neighborhoods, so it was ok. Everyone was too busy with video games, reality TV, and sporting events to be bothered. When the Patriot Act came to be, and it took away a lot of our rights to privacy, it was ok. Blame it on the foreigners, you said, and when young black men and women were murdered by law enforcement, you shook your heads and said, “If they would just obey the laws, they wouldn’t die.”
The AIDS crisis was ignored for the longest time. “It’s a gay disease,” you said. “Nothing to worry about.” Suddenly there comes a virus that starts randomly killing men, women, and children, and then because of the internet you witness a black man being murdered in cold blood by those who are supposed to protect and serve.
Suddenly everybody’s “woke,” as if these things hadn’t been happening for years. So, yes, your normal is broken. But damn. You’re upset about that. No sports to escape to, your kids are home so not even able to play video games, so you’re looking for ways to stop this madness.
Many have hit on the idea that tossing Trump out of the Oval will solve the problem. “This is all his fault,” you scream. Yes and no. Yes — by being his racist, egotistical, corrupt self he has indirectly exposed this system, this system that has been here since the inception of this country, as a fraud. Which brings me to: no, this didn’t all just start with him. And it won’t end with him.
Anyone who actually believes that by electing Joe Biden this will end: no. No, it will not. Why? Well, because Joe wants us to get back to normal — whatever that was. He would like us to forget that black, brown, and poor whites have been mistreated by the police in this country for years, that a lack of education, healthcare, and lousy wages are not the problem. He wants us to believe that if we get rid of Trump, Uncle Joe will take care of everything. They will try to co-op the movement that has come to life, have a kumbaya moment and everything will be fine.
NO, the new normal is not going back to that but forward, not curling back into our comfortable seats, turning on the TV and forgetting any of this ever happened. The old normal has indeed been broken.