• Sona Chaturvedi

The Myth of Normal

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

In the 1947 classic, "It's a Wonderful Life," audiences cheer for the little guy in his battle with the ruthless slum-lord capitalist. Today, we root for the capitalist.

What comes to mind when you think of normal?

We live in a society where everyone has their own “normal,” but we tend to follow pretty much the same path.

Certain constants everyone shares: routines, careers, health and well-being of our loved ones. We exist in that social contract, and we’re carrying that out in our day-to-day lives.

However, what happens when that breaks?

As witnessed with the coronavirus and its global impact, everything can change in an instant.

The virus caused us to re-evaluate what is important. And, it revealed something. 

Normal in America is a scam. America is broken.

Let me equate it with a well-liked movie people watch every Christmas.

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” with James Stewart and Donna Reed. In the movie, George Bailey is your everyday American small-town guy with big dreams. He marries his high-school sweetheart and eventually takes over the family business at the local bank.

Things don’t go as expected, and he ends up on a bridge contemplating suicide over $8,000. The antagonist, Mr. Potter, is a man everyone despises, a ruthless capitalist and slum lord with no soul.

As an audience, we all root for George against mean old Mr. Potter, and in the end the town comes together to save George and his bank.

That was the contract America used to have.

Then came the 80’s, the decade of “Gordon Gecko,” and we broke.

We went from FDR’s America to the philosophy of Reagan. We went from rooting for George Bailey to admiring mean old Mr. Potter, because he looked like success. And money was all that mattered.

Our normal after this virus passes cannot return to the status quo. If we let it, another Trump is inevitable.

It’s a myth that all men are created equal, always has been. However, we used to try and make it better for everyone, at least we could say we TRIED! No more.

As Obama said, you have to have the boot straps first before you can pull yourself up by them. Remember when 9/11 happened in New York? We all pitched in together to help each other through this tragedy. We donated to firefighter funds, gave a free pass to those directly affected by it and thought we had a new contract. Remember the banners in New York? “NEVER FORGET” banners hanging everywhere?

Well, we forgot.

That day, we didn’t see bankers, we didn’t see window washers, we just saw human beings united in grief.

It didn’t last.

We went straight back to golden parachutes and socialism for the rich until the 2008 stock market crashed.

We did the exact same thing.

This time, we are applauding front-line workers.

How about paying them what they deserve instead AND recognizing their value as human beings? We can do both. We can do better.

We may have somewhat recovered from those tragedies. However, this time if we go back to that normal, the American experiment fails.

No one wants to see that happen, and we need leaders who reflect that, who value us and help foster unity and not division. Just take a look at the Statue of Liberty. Last time I checked, she was still there.