Daily Connector | New Normal | Dan Halterman

A favorite from my list of quotes is Wordsworth’s “Tell me, what has become clear to you since we last met?”

It seems so perfectly invitational and is still classy after 200 years of war, famine, disease, manipulation – the normal state of humanity.

A news article from a month ago described Washington’s nervousness about the economic cost of the pandemic as Congress with abnormal civility quickly passed the $2 trillion rescue bill that acknowledges “the fragility of the systems that sustain American life” and “the complacency of a decade of … perpetually rising stock markets.”

My good friend and former coworker, retired to his native Dominican Republic, describes “watching the pandemic shake our estructuras ficticias (fictitious social structures).”

Combining those two messages presents to many for the first time a view of “fragility of the fictitious systems that sustain American life.”  That cannot be a great comfort with first exposure; it’s no comfort for me, although I grew accustomed to it years ago.

If we now live in trembly circumstances (many in this nation live entirely in trembly, real social structures I’ve been spared) and the realities of this pandemic reveal themselves well into the future, we will discover and adapt to new normal.

I was grudgingly introduced to the phrase “new normal” several years ago, accepted its likely truth, kept doing what was required, and…at some point realized my days had normalized a new life.

Most public figures assume (I think it’s “hope”) life will return to “normal” that seems to mean “economic normal.”  That calls to mind the scene from “Titanic” when 1st Officer Murdoch, in a panicky altercation with a passenger, screams, “Your money can't save you any more than it can save me!”

While the pandemic “lockdown” has shown some horrible realities that can’t be suppressed, we get regular doses of wonderful examples of public civility, gratitude, hope, and sharing I’ve not seen before on such a scale.  I hope the latter can be maintained in a new normal.

So, taking a few liberties with Wordsworth’s hopeful conversation starter, “Tell me, with all you’ve experienced and learned recently, what “new normal” do you hope for?”