Randy Weeks

Published on November 5th, 2020 | by Randy Weeks

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The View From The Balcony: “Back to Normal” by Randy Weeks

When this issue of The Local Voice hits the streets, we’ll be two days away from Halloween, five days away from the Presidential election, and six days away from possible mayhem—not that we’ve been without mayhem for a while. The vast majority of politicians and the general population cry out for a return to normalcy. But who knows what’s normal anymore? Nobody. Nobody knows what normal is these days.

Definitions of “normal” abound. What’s normal varies within different contexts, but it will gravitate toward the usual, average, expectable, and common. Normal, however, is not static. It is continually in a state of flux. For example…

The earthquakes along the New Madrid Fault in 1811 and 1812 caused catastrophic destruction, obliterating entire communities. The Mississippi River ran backwards for a while, forming new oxbow lakes and forever altering the path of the Mighty Mississip’. What was normal before the quakes was normal no more.

Every election cycle seems to get darker than the one before it. More name calling. More misleading ads. More finger pointing. More divisiveness. And for the first time in my lifetime we have a candidate that habitually makes erroneous claims about everything under the sun, then denies that he’s said what he said, even when there’s solid recorded evidence to the contrary. The Trump administration and its penchant for lies, lack of decorum, and encouragement of violence has seismically altered the trajectory of the state of the Union, making abhorrent behavior that was formally considered aberrant, into the norm. In this case, the prophetic words of Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn ring true: “The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.”

Not that anyone’s asked, but I’ll tell you some of the things I think a return to normalcy would include. Let’s assume two givens: 1) control and (hopefully) the eradication of the Coronavirus, and 2) that the Presidential election is over and done with, and that whomever wins will have been inaugurated.

A return to normalcy would mean that:

People will agree to disagree without violence.

Diplomacy will return to the Executive Branch of the government.

Truth and transparency from our leaders will prevail.

Members of Congress will work across the aisle as a rule rather than as a rare exception.

Supreme Court Justices will rule based on law and equality, not religion and personal bias.

People will listen to each other and be slower to judge.

Stereotyping will disappear.

Kindness will prevail, and

The Confederate Statue on The Square (Ernie) will, of its own volition and under its own power, step down from its pedestal, march to the cemetery on the University of Mississippi campus, and plant himself firmly beside his stoned cousin (Bert).

I avoid referring to “the good ole days” because the “good ole days” really weren’t as good as folks typically remember them. Maybe we should be dreaming up the “good new days.” Maybe if we dreamt of a world in which love and unity and kindness and understanding abounded, we could create such a world. It would appear that I’ve slipped into Utopianism, wishful thinking, even dreaming. But I can dream, can’t I?

You may say I’m a dreamer,
But I’m not the only one.
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one. (John Lennon)

Randy Weeks is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Life Coach. He may be reached at randallsweeks@gmail.com

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