This is the last in 12 parts where I’ve written under the title “Why are we planning to go back to “normal” anyway?” I will continue to write for sure. But what of the last 80 days since my first post? Firstly, even if it “feels” like it, we will never go back to “normal”. Don’t be fooled by the horrendous traffic, pollution and guzzling folk who have been in the pub for the last five days. You may have even hugged a stranger…but normal will never return….even when it does return. Think about it?
When I started out I had no expectations. It was a release of words I wanted to get out and also share with others. We were in lockdown and the level of uncertainty and confusion was at its highest.
One thing I’ve learnt over the years is that having an opinion is one thing but the learning that comes from sharing it is invaluable. I still believe that wholeheartedly and I certainly believe that from the feedback I’ve got.
I started firmly in the realm of Covid-19 and its impact and then ended up in the trials of inequality, education, racism and a failing government policy on all things. It was never planned and I certainly have no regrets.
Do I think we have gone back to normal? Certainly not. What has been the most revealing and probably knowingly is that “we” as in the society of humans are very predictable, fallible and may one day be extinct sooner rather than later. It’s a fatalistic view and one I hope does not come true but seriously, look at the events over the last few months.
Maybe I should put this in the context of the West because the general observation in relation to the pandemic response is mostly from this perspective. I cannot profess to understand what is happening in differing societies around the world although l I do get some snippets from people I know globally. What have we really learnt to make the human race “better”?
A virus hit us and there was no time for reflection. The panic and real war against this invisible virus was the focus and it was understandable. As the spikes reached their peak and that elusive “R” number started to fall there was (and is) time for reflection but it’s about “reviving an economy”…a way of life that inevitably contributed to the virus happening in the first place.
It was all about “getting back to normal”. It seems so simplistic and unimaginative when I think about it this way. Early on in the pandemic I was always looking at the meaning of why this was happening. I realised that friends, family and in the media there were differing views from fate, scientific, religious, conspiracy theories to “it’s just a random event”.
I tried my best to see all aspects of this but could not help but think it was simply a “wake up call to humanity”. I felt a sense of calm and security in this because it meant that it was something bigger and more powerful than “us”. That meant a certain kind of humbleness that the God like image we had painted of humans was indeed flawed and the earth and nature was indeed in control.
From the tragedy and upheaval globally it was sad to see and hear the passing nature and lack of empathy for every death from Covid-19. It would also be wrong to think I did not start to just look at the numbers and as they got lower it meant things were getting better.
I was searching for a sense of “justice” out of Covid. A kind or urging people to consider that “normal” was never really “normal and good” and that the “new normal” was just a halfway house and would eventually resort back to something that was “not quite right”.
Then the murder of George Floyd happened. A global pandemic was replicated in the shear outcry of injustice. The storm of injustice became a pandemic.
It contorted a silence and static nature of Covid and “normal” actually meant the same old problems were really still there. They had never gone away. Again — fate, random event, just part of life? No, the normal also represented a brutal systemic system of racism that had been around for hundreds of years. It was wrong. It is wrong.
We had known it was wrong for so long. That moment I realised that parallel lives and views were the norm. It was somehow scary that people did not know that racism had become normalised.
I mean, I knew it. Others I spoke to knew it. We always knew it. We lived it. We live it. Throughout our adolescent and adult lives…so why didn’t everybody know? That was an uncomfortable place to be. A lonely place because there was a moment for around two to three weeks where my thought process only consisted constantly of the heightened state of the activity the media attention and BLM protests.
The conversations subsided with people who wanted to “understand” this more. The 400 years of African slavery, colonialism and imperialism. The ravaging of distant lands…Was it too much? Is it too much? Will the difficult conversations continue? Do they need to?
Covid exposed a weakness of government like never before…globally
Covid has created a TV show about a government. One responsible for guidance, policy and law and one that has fallen way short. There are no mitigating circumstances other than yes, “the government can fail”. The government has failed. The government is failing.
Whether through the debacle of care homes and PPE or through the chaos of schools and education we have witnessed failure.
So, what now? We “carry on” right? We fudge and hack our way back to a “normal” that in every area is being challenged because there “must” be something better. From having class sizes of 30 children and thinking “that was never ever right anyway” to the empty swathes of offices in the city of London which quite frankly “do not need to be there”.
Yes, I’m a “new-por-tunist” aka a “romantic” or “seeker of dreams” in a world that is telling me to “wake up” and get back to “normal”. I’ve always known in my heart that “it can’t just be like this” in many ways from poverty, economics, culture and politics. So…do something…
One thing I can and will continue to do is share my opinion, act when I can and document the journey.