“Going Back to Normal.”

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President Trump wearing a mask, via Twitter

Many Americans are tired and want to go back to normal. However, it’s time for all of us to wake up. That normal we knew but a few months ago is dead. Until the virus burns through the population, or we have a safe vaccine, we are not going to be back to any normal, however future form it takes. This is why President Donald Trump, who is desperate to go back to normal went golfing, as we pass over 100,000 American dead.

He is not alone in wanting to go back to normal. We see it with friends who are going out to dinner at local restaurants, believing it’s safe. Yes, health officials have guidance, and restaurants are opening. It makes it sound like it is safe but it’s not. Going out to dinner is a window of that life we miss. And yes, people are tired of staying home.

There is cabin fatigue running across the land, and this includes the president. We are a notoriously impatient people who always think of the individual, not the community. A small, very vocal, and well-armed minority, has made the point. Incidentally, none would blame him for a weekend of golfing if we were not in the midst of the crisis, and he was not such a hypocrite. He called on his predecessor often because Barack Obama went golfing from time to time. Trump also promised during his campaign that he would have no time for golf. He has spent close to a year on the links. We are barely at the three-year point of his first term.

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This is party what going out to golf is about. This is why his insistence to open the economy is so loud. This is also why he already said he will not close it again, no matter what. The president knows that a collapsed economy will not help him in November, and at this point, his party realizes the same. This is why they keep attacking China and avoid defending Trump. This is about distraction and deflection from what the president has done, or has not done.

Going back to normal also involves wearing masks, which the president refuses to wear, except in what he calls “offstage.” He has yet to understand that he is on stage all the time. Why when somebody leaked a photo of Trump wearing a mask at the Ford plant to the press, it went viral. And I am using this photo because it is revealing of who is in the White House.

Again, it’s the hypocrisy stupid. A mask is not for him, except I suppose when none is watching. It is tone-deaf, and it is extremely bad modeling. The virus does not care if Trump believes this makes him look like an emasculated man, or not. The virus does not care if he is a Democrat, a Republican, or anything in between. Like playing golf and calling his predecessor for it, this is the hypocrisy and attacking the government. Oh, never mind he is the ultimate figure of the government.

Going back to the world that was is not going to happen. That world is dead. A new world lies beyond the pandemic. It is one pregnant with possibilities, including changes to our economic system that will make it fair to the whole. This is a new world that will not allow a few people and corporations, to continue to loot the treasury and transfer wealth up to the people that the president represents.

The world that will be will likely include a very weakened nation that is already at war with itself. This is a world that is turning already on the weakest among us and leaving them out of a system of laws and traditions. In some ways, we are already blaming the poor and minorities for their condition. This is not something that changes, it’s a constant with pandemics. However, one constant remains in the country. That is our deep-seated racism and the double whammy of genocide and slavery.

This is part of the toxic mixture, and as the realization of what Trump has done sinks, more of these will surface. Americans will need to blame somebody for the loss of our status in the world. To some Americans, it is never about who they voted for, or why. White Americans are also an endangered species, as more people of color become the norm in the nation. A multicultural world is coming, and many whites are having a lot of trouble with this. And we know something else. Racism has never gone away, but now it is being filmed.

It is a fact that we have been purposely left out of any global leadership role for the first time since World War Two. This serves both Russia and China. The former wants to see the United States a greatly diminished country. The former is trying to create the Chinese Century and become the leader that the United States no longer is. The president may blame China all it wants, but China is emerging as a global power willing to go to war with the United States for dominance in the Western Pacific. The next president may have time to return the United States to some leadership role, but trust from many of our allies is severely frayed.

They will continue to look elsewhere, and Americans are coming out of this as a smaller, weaker, far more nationalistic country.

This future world is multipolar and likely will include a Cold War in the pacific.

But we also need to consider what the pandemic is revealing. The United States, among a few countries will face internal strife. The pandemic is revealing deep fracture lines, and the dysfunction of the federal government. The partisanship in Washington is as deep as it has been since the Civil War. And yes, it feels as if we are on the edge of internal conflict. The party of the president is committed to blaming the other party for all the problems, unable to see or admit, to their own responsibility.

It is also telling us that many white Americans in particular have internalized the Ayn Rand Objectivist philosophy that the Republican Party has embraced. In a way, they have abandoned the ideas that were the core of the nation, including science, engineering, and people at the core of society. This belief that the individual is all that matters is getting in the way of what needs to happen if we are to return to any normal. This includes changing behavior in minor but significant ways.

We need something else if we are to return to any semblance of a future normal. We need to have measured, intelligent and empathetic leadership. The current president is not that person. In fact, he is no leader. A current president is a self-absorbed man, who cares little that we have lost these many Americans in four months, and we are going to lose far more. Before this is over, we will lose so many Americans that you will know somebody who has lost a family member. We have. I know a few people in both my town and my family.

We also need something else. Our post COVID world needs to finally deal with the structural racism that allows unequal deaths among minorities. We also need to face the ugly reality that people continue to die at the hands of police, with few consequences for the officers. It is time to stop paying lip service to this reality and come face to face with our own racism.

The world that was is dead. It is also clear that people are not rushing to stores and restaurants. So a return will not come until people have some trust in how we do it. Some are, and we have seen the videos and photos. Right now, we have one of the most dysfunctional federal governments in American history. It is one where the president has made wearing masks, or not, a political statement. he president is serving his interests, not those of the nation. Going to a new normal will also include moving beyond the three-year-old who does not even pretend to care about the country.

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.

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