Getting Back To Abnormal?
By Jeff Stark
There's lot of talk these days about "getting back to normal." We say it when we remember what it was like when we could go to the grocery store without needing a mask, and when they almost always had what we wanted. We say it when we remember that we used to go to the movies with friends, and take our kids to the beach, and plan a vacation. We greeted each other with a hug and a kiss on the cheek and jammed into a restaurant booth. When we thought about the way we lived it seemed normal, and we took it for granted. Now we are grappling with the effects of a dysfunctional national leadership, a poorly educated populace and a disease that seems medieval in its threat to humans. Given all this it is no surprise that we yearn to get back to normal. The problem is that from an environmental perspective that is almost certainly the wrong thing to do.
Acting normal in the way we treat our environmental emergencies is dangerous. The fact that we have, over the last 50 years or so, allowed our environmental debate to degenerate into a partisan political exercise has produced our current crisis. This has marginalized the environmental information available from our media. Environmental information and education have been shouldered out of the media spotlight and relegated to a sideshow. This was normal prior to the appearance of the corona virus. Normal was awful then. Now, when we add the damage generated by the Trump era, normal is off the charts.
Normal also included our acceptance of environmental claims, from industry, business and government, which promise much but produce little. Consider the campaigns mounted against the environmental community regarding the damage being wrought by climate change induced sea level rise. The fossil fuel industry attacked environmental claims and spokespersons. They fought tooth and nail against regulations designed to assure that we were protected, citing questionable scientific data to bolster their claims. However, while they were hiding behind their dubious science they were quietly redoing their basic engineering on their offshore oil drilling rigs in order to protect them from the very phenomena they were publicly denying. For years, decades, this was normal.
For billions of humans normal is a life without access to clean water and air, for adequate food, for substandard or nonexistent medical care. While most of this population is in foreign countries a staggering percentage is in the US and other developed nations. Witness the residents of Flint, Michigan and other US locations. For many young residents of these areas all they know about water is that it comes in a bottle. For them, this is normal.
These are just a few of an endless list of events and conditions that, in societies around the globe, was normal. The problem is that while many of us are now living in a different world we are still thinking and acting as if the old normal still applies. Clearly, the movement to get back to normal makes no sense for proponents of environmentalism. What we need is to go forward to a new normal, an abnormal that recognizes and deals with the massive changes we and our world are experiencing.
WHAT WE CAN DO
It is difficult to deny that the new normal, which we are now experiencing daily, is primarily a product of the Trump administration. For those of who deny this we recommend a few hours of TV, sampling the offerings of both sides of the political spectrum.
Most of us have seen enough. We know that in order to progress we need a new politics, an American politics with leadership coming from a President and legislators who perceive their jobs the way most of us do. Competence would be nice as well. It is truly scary to contemplate how much worse things could be if Trump and his gang were able to actually get things done.
With that in mind it is clear that we all need to take part in our upcoming elections. It may be our last chance to reverse the damage done by the current administration. It will, if we are successful, give us a chance to get back on track to restore, repair and reinvigorate our democracy. The action that will stimulate this rescue effort is working with the infrastructure of the National Democratic Party. It will be strange, it will feel abnormal, but it might just be our only chance. Retail politics can be fun and it will be over is only 6 months.
Retail politics can be fun and it will be over in only 6 months. For information about contacting the Democratic campaign, and getting involved in what may be the most important election in US history,CLICK HERE