The recent protests are a signal that we will no longer accept what has been thought of a normal state of existence in this country. There is no normal, never has been for marginalized individuals. George Clooney made a statement posted today, saying that our greatest pandemic is anti-black racism. I would say it the pandemic is racism period. It has sickened democracy and infected us with a terminal racism that is killing our country and planet.
Do we really want to return to normalcy?
I was recently reading about what Warren Harding did after the pandemic of 1918 and WWI. He took office in 1920 facing the remains of WWI and the Spanish Flu Pandemic. He presented ideals that satisfied what upper and middle economic citizens thought to be normal. As disease and war fears subsided the population erupted into the Roaring Twenty’s age of jazz, flappers, and the diminishing restrictive Victorian Society. Society Changed but not for the better for the ill, under privileged, the marginalized citizens.
In the background of the jubilant noise, voices of caution were drowned out. There were warnings about financial disaster. No one heard the message, in a context where they were moved to try to resolve the coming disaster. This disaster created more than just a financial loss of those invested. It created a loss of jobs, home, health, and families. Then like now there was a drastic increase in suicide across all spectrums of society.
In Greek mythology, Cassandra was the daughter of the King of Troy. She was so beautiful that the God Apollo granted her the gift of seeing the future, prophecy. When Cassandra spurned Apollo’s love, he put a curse on her – that no one would believe any of her predictions. Cassandra was thus an epic and tragic figure – granted a powerful ability, yet powerless to use it. Throughout history there have been many Cassandra-type figures, people who predicted the coming of terrible tragedies and disasters, but whose warnings were ignored.
The myth of Cassandra lives in our collective unconscious mind. We are living in a time that Casandra myth is active, and many are not believing the warnings including the leader of our country.
There are those, thru the last 100 years in the USA, who have predicted all kinds of disasters, which have been ignore, or rather not taken seriously. We have been warned early return from quarantine for the COVID-19 virus, may mean more deaths, leading to more financial strain. But it means more than loss financially. It means that those with the least, the marginalized, will suffer more.
Daily we are hearing the want to return to normal. And what does normal mean? It means that many will be without medical insurance or ability to access health care. It also means that these same marginalize citizens will remain caught in the same furrow that has been dug for them through history. It also means the richer will becomes wealthier. As in the early 20s the middle class bloomed, today the new millionaires, as the neo-middle class, will continue to bloom in the same manner. We have now more than one level of poor. We have poor, and poorer and those with nothing to survive on. Which means there is less and less options, for those without financial clout as insignificant classes to use for survival.
Return to normalcy? To have white police people shoot and kill African Americans without cause, have homeless line our streets, to have millions suffer with disease and hunger, and have an inability to get a job that pays enough for minimal living. Normalcy means continue with a declining environment that will crucify our citizens, except those in the upper 5% financially, the rest of their lives and the generations, ad nauseum. Normalcy to put a sign in your car that says “my freedom is more important than your health? Normalcy where are leaders incite violence, have no real intent of helping those who most need our help. Normalcy where we ignore health warnings and let our own selfishness overwhelm hospitals and others die.
Of course, the families who are starving about to be homeless, give-up their cars, and have no healthcare options; have little real ability to address what normalcy means. The chaos that ensues when we ignore warnings, the loss and long-time scars are not what I want to return to. And perhaps not so important but educational cost so high that we grow a class of super indebted students, and another slave labor class that can barely read or write.
We need to re-think our economic system, education, and address the prejudices we carry deep in our conscious mind. No, I don’t want to return to normal.
© Suzanne Deakins 2020 Coming soon, A Journal During Pandemic