There has been a lot of talk lately about returning to normalcy. Before the pandemic hit America the nation was struggling with many issues. There were several fissures in the body politic. Never before this moment had the country been torn asunder by an invisible threat.
Our economy has been the engine that drove us through recessions and social upheaval. The wages of workers stopped rising after 1980. Remained stagnant through 2020.
If you grew up in America between 1955 and 1985 you were indoctrinated into a man’s world. Captains of industry were male. Physical strength dominated. Being smart was deemed weak or ‘gay’.
What men hide is the ability to empathize. To express emotion in a normative way is suppressed. We as a society are paying today in political divides and fringe pursuits of false ideas that support a nation in isolation.
When I was a kid boys always acted strong. Being physical was the primary motivator in boys.
America was so busy working and living mostly private lives decades before Facebook that boys’ real needs could be missed.
The politicians pass laws. Parents do their best. Why were our kids killing one another before this crisis?
The gendered kids of this time and place are wondering what happened to them. People who cannot conceive of anything outside their prescribed norms are angered or scared that gendering could be wrong.
Has anyone asked if closing the schools could end school shootings? Recently a lot of people have suggested this crazy notion. Actually, without schools kids lose crucial development of social skills. Those with limited resources miss meals that schools provide.
America has yet to really tackle the social pandemic of massacres, addiction, and lack of empathy.
A return to normal? What normal are people longing for?
Vaping was killing kids, socially isolated boys were killing classmates, and adults were being killed by opioids.
The rising tide of Anti-Semitism was killing innocent people too.
Police brutality has resulted in a renewal of civil unrest not seen in fifty years.
Leadership is absent.
Should we not imagine a society that is anything but normal?
Trans people, Women, and Racism must be addressed. Just to name a few issues.
During the recent Memorial Day holiday states were informed that if they met certain metrics they could begin re-opening.
I walked around my city. Central Park was full of people socially distancing. Picnics were few and far between on the lawns. Children played. But it was just New Yorkers this year. Anything but normal.
I read the paper every day to check in on the latest concerning the virus. The pandemic has hit the poor the hardest. And economies that have all their eggs in the hospitality basket are in serious trouble.
Has the pandemic stripped away people’s illusions surrounding capitalism? Now we have a clearer idea of just how fragile our social system has become in the last 50 years.
People throw around new wordage to describe our ‘new normal’ but this is a much more serious matter.
Re-opening is not a race. States are finding new outbreaks where there were none until people began to disregard safety measures.
The virus has managed to do what Russian interference could not: push Americans to the brink of a new Civil War.
People who have not fallen ill are voicing their anger toward officials for closing their states.
As New York attempts to re-open let us all hope new cases of Covid—19 do not return us to square one.
The Covid Age is just beginning…
Tao Of Bob
While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay
There are frail forms fainting at the door
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh, hard times, come again no more.
—–excerpted lyrics from Hard Times by Bob Dylan (1992)