In the best of times, we spackle ourselves in layers of civility, agree on normalcy, nod and smile, compliment each other on our good conduct and social graces, poll each other for the lowest common denominator. At the first sign of weirdness in paradise, we avert our gaze (and everything will be all right). Pressed, we argue (in tones muted or sharp depending on our personality), and pray logic will return all to normalcy. Failing that, we isolate the troublemakers who dare confront us. We build factions against the rising clamor, denounce our enemies with ringing condemnation, and fight any suggestion that we have contributed to the troubles: "It’s them, not us! We were minding our own business! We were in church! We were watching American Idol! They came upon us, and …"
At some point, when we can no longer ignore the cracks in our world, we admit it: Strange times reign. We hope it will pass. We look forward to the return to normal. We crave normal. We prostrate ourselves before normal. Normal is the refuge of right thinking people. Strange will pass, and normal will reign forever and ever. Normal is right. Until then, we will live bitterly in these strange times.
What we can only see in hind-sight are the times when a strange wind blows, blows so long and so hard that it erases normal. Strange comes, and refuses to leave. The times change, and change us. We lose our bearings, and cannot really fully grasp the changes until we find ourselves in a new place. And, in that magical new place, we look around, purse our lips, wax nostalgic for the good old days, and grudgingly redefine a new normal.
I am wondering about the forces that are battling in America. “Old normal” stares across the plain today at “new normal”, determined to hold its territory. Anything-to-triumph-elections, econo-wars and eco-wars, the energy crises that they always told to scare the children, mass child seizures, mass home seizures, new civil rights battles that read like the old, hope against realism, natural disasters, the commercialization of crystal skulls and Mayan calendars, lying and spitting and cursing, overt racism, covert racism, the poor pitted against the disenfranchised, the battle of bad-boy preachers. I go on, in my head, and on down the road …