In anticipation of the COVID-19 pandemic coming to an end, there was much talk about the “new normal” and what that would mean.
The new normal, it turns out, feels like the old normal. And the old normal was rather terrible.
The pandemic affected all Americans, but the impact and experiences were far from universal. Cities suffered the initial brunt of the health crisis with hundreds of thousands of people dying, while rural areas mostly unaffected protested about being inconvenienced by their urban neighbors.
City populations were also the first to embrace the vaccination, and a future without the pandemic seemed within reach. Then the Delta variant hit along with the full blown conspiracy denials from Anti-Vaccination supporters who prevented American society from reaching heard immunity. That blind selfishness all but halted the return to normal they had been demanding for a year.
Much of the polarization over the pandemic has been political, and the hardline ideology reflects the institutions of White Supremacy that America was founded on. The people who reject wearing masks, in declarations of body autonomy with no government involvement, are the very same people who want the government to regulate the reproductive rights of what woman can do with their body.
This group of White people want a return to normal, because that system was rigged in favor of White people. They want to hold onto their privilege, enshrined by a broken and dysfunctional system, no matter how poisonous or detrimental it is to American society and its foundational democracy. Laws are something for other people to follow, not Whites.
People often say “it is what it is” when faced with a terrible situation for which there is no remedy but to accept. The statement asserts a false notion that the world is beyond our control. The world is what we make of it. So if it is terrible and broken, then it was intentionally made that way. If it was accidental, then we would have made the effort to fix it. The terrible is by design.
Many people do not want to embrace the idea of hope and the possibilities of a new normal. They do not want to fix a broken system. They blindly support policies engineered to punish others, oblivious to being part of the collateral damage themselves.
Rural areas dismissed the pandemic as an urban problem, something they had no need to care about. Those same people were self-absorbed in their own selfishness and irrational desire to destroy the fabric of the American society, because they felt privileged to do so.
They object to investments in infrastructure, the very same initiative that President Franklin D. Roosevelt used to bring electricity to rural areas. Generations of European immigrants came to America to build this country, and their descendants have become parasites on that legacy with false claims of entitlement.
The new normal in a post-pandemic age was always going to be problematic. But it is astonishing how fast so many pushed for a return to the old normal and all its consumeristic disfunction. America lost hundreds of thousands of people due to a deadly virus and a madman running the government, while so many White Americans remained detached like it was not their problem. Two buildings in New York were blown up, with a loss of life less than a single day of fatalities at the height of COVID in any major city, and the nation spent trillions in a war that lasted two decades. That war was ultimately lost.
At every turn, America’s White culture shows its true racist nature. Laws are enforced or ignored depending on best to to maintain the stranglehold of White Supremacy’s power. There are countless news headlines each day that prove how social institutions are rigged to benefit White people, because the culture of White Supremacy avoids punishment and accountability by design.
As Americans, we could look at our flaws and failings and try to find a way to make the world better. Instead, the sprint to the bottom has revealed the true nature of our polarized society. The new normal may be great for some, but not most. And while White Privilege has unprecedented benefits, it is a lie used to make suffering people turn their anger against people even less fortunate.
For all the hardships suffered over the past two years of the pandemic, it seems like people have learned nothing. They were not inspired to be better, or build something good from the ashes of loss. They just perpetuate the ugliness with a consuming greed, as insecure bullies. The ex-president is a good example of how people make excuses for their abuser, and how they would rather live in fear than with hope. True freedom, not the rhetoric of patriotism, is more terrifying to them than trying to stop the abuse.
It does not take a genius to watch these patterns repeat constantly. People who fought against COVID safety protocols quickly changed their minds after contracting the virus, and ended up on their deathbed. Then they begging the public to get vaccinated. They thought by alerting others that their death would have some meaning. But their suffering was a complete waste, because the message did not offer inspiration to those who had been likeminded and refused to listen.
Which brings up the question about how much sympathy do people deserve after showing no sympathy to others? If we reap what we sow, then we only have ourselves to blame. Other countries experience natural disasters and America’s evangelical community declares it as God’s judgement. So when bad things happen in America, is that no less God’s judgement as well? Of course not, because the bad things are happening to White people and a White God would not permit such things.
After the housing crash of 2008, American society did not learn a lesson. It accelerated the punishment of victims. It expanded the criminalization of poverty. The pandemic was an opportunity for a universal reset across the nation, and an opportunity to build a better future. Instead, the legacy and resources that built the nation continue to be squandered because of a selfish minority who think it is criminal to share America’s vast abundance.
After so much darkness during the pandemic, it is joyous to finally see some light and be around people again. But if we can see more clearly now what the nature of other people are, and we see them as more terrible than before, what did we miss in seclusion?
Isolation is no alternative to being in fellowship with others. But being enthralled to a community of selfishness and an ideology of racial supremacy is not a better way forward. To build a new normal that is better will take a lot of effort from everyone. And based on the behavior of Americans who embrace the covenants of White Supremacy, the lack of courage to live their true faith will never make a kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.