We’ve been feeling some wanderlust lately for a return to normal.
That wishfulness sometimes grows so strong that it becomes an ache in our hearts.
In fact, at times it turns into a longing so deep that we even want to turn off the TV and the cable news and find an escape from the year of the abnormal.
Except that in our pandemic isolation, the TV (not so much cable news, but more so Netflix) has increased in its importance as a needed companion.
This year, after all, we’ve devolved into the imagined shut-ins Jack Brickhouse always used to reference when proclaiming the public service of broadcast baseball.
Yes, when we start hearkening back to Jack and long-ago afternoons spent with good ol’ Channel 9, we clearly are feeling some wanderlust for a return to normal.
We suspect we are not alone.
So many people seem to want to pretend that the threat of COVID-19 is not what it seems. They’re certainly wishing we could return to normal.
We all do. Not just the wishful thinkers ready to plunge into crowds without a mask. All of us do.
Maybe a vaccine will free us. We’re counting on a vaccine to free us.
We’re prepped in our heads to embrace pandemic watch through the end of 2020. But if we don’t reach the other side by 2021, then what?
How much abnormality can we take?
That, apparently, is the measure of today’s generation. Do we have the discipline to await the return to normal?
When it comes down to it, it’s really a matter of strength. Do we have the strength?
Meanwhile, abnormal lies all around us, and it’s not just the pandemic and it’s not just this year.
Somehow, the politics of the far right has become the politics of the right. And the politics of the far left has become the politics of the left.
Won’t anybody make the case for the center?
Won’t anybody show some passion for common sense?
Won’t anybody strive to bring us together?
Somehow, expertise has become a shortcoming. Somehow, repetitive lies have become reality. Somehow, human failings have become intolerable, no matter the age, no matter the scope.
We have to watch every word we say. It’s hard to have a constructive conversation when one slip of the tongue could lead to ruin.
We don’t merely disagree with each other. We don’t productively debate. Instead, we insult. Instead, we assign motives, on no more evidence than our assumptions.
We demonize instead of argue.
We don’t listen. We don’t offer respect. And we don’t concede we could be wrong.
This is not healthy.
This is not normal.
Or at least it shouldn’t be.
It is what is normal today. But it shouldn’t be the normal for tomorrow.
How do we change that?
(Arlington Heights) Daily Herald, August 1, 2020