Normal Is a Myth

I started writing this in March and put it down because at the time, I felt like it was a bit tone deaf. We were just getting started, and now we are in the midst with no relief in sight. – Dom

I don’t think we’re ever getting back to normal.

This COVID-19 pandemic (nicknamed The Corona Virus, The ‘Rona, That Shit and other epithets) has rocked the world to its core, and since I live in the United States, I can speak specifically to how it has affected this nation.

The short answer is that we’re in dire straits.

The long answer is that this crisis has further revelaed every single flaw, blemish, weakness and ugly truth that this nation has attempted to hide throughout it’s 200+ year history. This reveal has been going on since, hell, probably since 2008 if we’re keeping it a buck, but the reveal was ramped up in 2016 upon the campaign and eventual election of the most incompentent president this nation has ever seen.

Herbert Hoover breathes a sigh of relief.

Every single truth we’ve been told is being revealed as a lie. People can work from home and don’t have to subject themselves to an office environment and still be productive. Low skilled jobs are actually some of the most valuable positions out there. This country can turn around and actually help it’s fucking citizens. Teachers deserve to be some of the highest paid professionals in this country. Greed is not good.

The jig is up. Whenever this is all said and done, we cannot go back to normal. I know a lot of people want to. A lot of people are hoping that this will blow over before the summer so we can go back to work and going out and what it was before.

I don’t think we can go back to that. I don’t think that I want to go back to that.

For one thing, everybody’s normal is different. That’s something to look at.

For another thing, our previous normal has proven to be unsustainable. Our previous normal has put us into these dire straits, woefully unprepared, at the mercy of a narcissist who can’t even be bother to act like he gives a damn about anybody but himself and his own self interests and his merry gang of sycophantic oligarchs. Our previous normal gets people killed. Our previous normal keeps the nation in a contant state of fear; it doesn’t allow for us to live, it allows for us to survive, at the expense of whoever or whatever gets in our way. Our previous normal has put it into our minds that the elderly and those who are already sick and disabled and who don’t fit into certain segments are expendable. Our previous normal allows for billionaires to keep getting rich when they don’t fucking need it and for everyone else to constantly be one paycheck, medical bill, accident, stock crash, housing crash away from the poor house.

I get it, some of you want to go back to normal because normal was safe, normal made sense, normal was something that you had a bit of control over. Normal is a myth. It was never safe, it never made sense. Normal is a sedative, a balm over the festering wounds that this country has inflicted upon each and every last one of us (yes, even white people).

I hoped that people would see what’s been going on and would fight for a new normal, but a slate of protests have sprang up and I have given up on fighting. People want the soma. Normal is our soma. People want to go back to normal. Granted, these protests are plants backed by some bullshit, but even those who aren’t protesting want to go back to die at the alter of white supremacy (more on that in another post).

What these people don’t realize though is that even getting back to normal will not be normal. For a lot of people, they have lost loved ones, colleagues, associates. Some folks might breathe a sigh of relief that they get to go back to their favorite restaurant and then realize that the cook who fried their wings just right is dead. People will go back to work and realize that the gossip in the cubicle next to them, the one that had all the good tea, is dead. Their children will go back to school and find one of their peers with a shell shocked expression that will not go away for a long time because their parent was deemed an essential worker, or was on the front lines at a hospital and they died. People are dying alone, in a hospital, and they can’t even have a proper send off. People are dying in apartments and the fucking coroners won’t come pick them up.

But yes, let’s get back to normal so that you can get a fucking haircut.

I Don’t Have the Answers

You know, it’s wild, I thought I had a post lined up for today and I didn’t. Maybe that was a stroke of creative luck because I have something to say that I didn’t plan on saying.

I found out about Alton Sterling’s murder in Baton Rouge, Louisiana last night before I went to bed. To say that I have grown weary of this narrative is an understatement. It takes a little bit of you every time it happens, the murder of a Black American at the hands of White Supremacy, whether it be cops or vigilantes. It takes a piece of your soul because it’s senseless and it hits extremely close to home. My father is a Black man, my grandfather, my uncles, my cousins, my friends, my 16-year-old nephew is a Black boy (despite the narrative that denies childhood and adolescence to us). That could be one of them. I’m reminded of the men and women dying in police custody and think back to how I spent the weekend at the Carson Sheriff’s station several years back. If things were different, that could’ve been me dead in a cell with no answers as to why it happened. It could be my mother, my nieces, sisters…we are all Black in America and any one of us are a potential target.

And it’s a sad reality to live under. That you are a potential target for no other reason than you try to live life as you should live it, free. You see we’ve never really been free in this country, yeah, we don’t have chains around our necks and wrists and ankles, but ever since we were dragged to this piece of rock rooted between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans we have been oppressed. It didn’t stop when our ancestors were symbolically freed from the chains of slavery because we still got Jim Crow segregation afterwards, and it didn’t stop after the gains of the 1960s, because our leaders were assassinated, our movements infiltrated and destroyed from the inside out and the outside in, drugs and guns were flooded into our communities, and families have been torn apart since we got here. It never stopped, White Supremacy and its faithful agents have never let up and even in 2016, when we’re supposed to be enlightened and post-racial (lies) and we have a (half) Black President we’re still being killed. They may not be using ropes dangling from trees and they may not be mutilating our bodies, but they still murder us. They still leave our blood to run red in the streets, our bodies to sit as a reminder, a warning not to step out of line. Know your place.

It is this reality we live under where as soon as tragedy like this strikes, we protest, we pray, we create hashtags. Those are all worthwhile gestures, needed gestures, because the conversation needs to be had, we do need to let people know that we will not be silent about this like White Supremacy wants us to be. But I fear that with the level of evil that we are facing, that will not be enough. However, I understand that to take such an extreme stance should not be done without careful consideration. You cannot go forth without a plan, because there will be consequences no matter what. Turning the other cheek has only resulted in more bullets. Voting doesn’t save us, especially when we are voting in a system designed against our best interests, hell, designed against its own best interests.

I don’t have the answers though. My opinion is just that, an opinion. It’s not totally practical, but then the other, more peaceful methods have only done so much. What’s the answer? How do you combat White Supremacy when it’s so invasive, sewn into the fabric of this very country, it’s documents, it’s way of being, it’s entire existence? How do you combat something that has invaded and colonized our minds so much?

Alton Sterling had five children, and his oldest son, 15-years-old, broke down at the press conference this morning and called out for his father while his mother stood there and held it together. And I know someone looked at that and had not an ounce of sympathy or empathy for that young man and his family. As it has been passed around this morning, they take our fathers away from us and then deride us for being fatherless. This young man’s father was taken away from him, and for what? Because White Supremacy is some nefarious shit, it is destructive, there is no good to be had in it, it is as if this is the ultimate manifestation of Satan himself, to spread havoc the world over and to terrorize. But we are supposed to just sit and take it. No more.