Friday, May 29, 2020

A True "New Normal"

Modern American life is full of corporate bullshit-speak, and one of the worst phrases barfed up by that cursed genre is "new normal." This is a phrase bosses pull out when they make you work harder for less money. "Sorry underlings, this state of affairs represents the new normal! There is no alternative."

I think it's time for that phrase to be reclaimed into something positive. A lot of talk around the virus concerns some people's desperate need to "get back to normal." Of course, that is impossible. The world simply will not go back to what it was on March 1, 2020. That would be like a person in November of 1918 expecting to turn back the clock to the "normal" of June 27, 1914, the day before Franz Ferdinand's assassination.

As a friend is fond of saying, "you can't unfry things."

In any case, we should not want to go back to normal even if we could. Normal sucked! The protests and riots against police brutality erupting across America should be living proof of this. Our "normal" was a nation where the life expectancy was going DOWN due to overdoses and suicide. "Normal" was police murdering unarmed black people and getting away with it. "Normal" was workers completely under the thumb of bosses. "Normal" was poison water in Flint. "Normal" was immigrant families being broken apart at the border. "Normal" was people going bankrupt due to healthcare emergencies.

We owe it to ourselves to make something far better than the feeble "normal" of the pre-covid world. As I have said before, the only way forward is to have what Abraham Lincoln called "a new birth of freedom." This time of crisis, as scary and uncertain as it is, presents a true opportunity to make a "new normal." We cannot waste it, because without such fundamental change we will be stuck on the same treadmill of failure and injustice.

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