Building the “Better Normal”

 

By: Debbie Boone, BS, CVPM 

 

As we are bombarded with COVID hotspot updates and racial unrest, I keep hearing that we are moving into the “new normal”. 

Well in my opinion, this “new normal” we are in stinks.

The world is stressed and polarized.  The news is looking for click-bait and soundbites no matter the effect it has on the public’s well-being or mental state.  The far right and the far left have created an atmosphere where people who desire to have a discussion and explore varying views on a topic are vilified rather than listened to.  Even politicians who would prefer to be moderate and collegial – which is where good work for the public actually can get accomplished – are slammed in the press.  Thank goodness for BBC.

Peaceful, rightful, and legitimate protests are contaminated with rioters and thieves.  Police officers who genuinely want to help people are polluted with police criminals who believe they have the right to be judge, jury and executioner of the public they are charged to serve. Children can have no innocence because parents must warn them early of internet predators, driving while black, and not becoming part of #MeToo. 

Social media has created algorithms intended to feed us more and more of the views we “click” but in ever exceeding extremes, therefore programming our minds that the majority of people feel the same way and therefore ”I must be right”. This is true for politics, vaccines, and even pet food.  

Why? 

Money! 

More views equals more ads, so they can feed us more stuff we do not need and compare ourselves to more and more unattainable Photoshopped bodies and be dissatisfied with our own.

The money is the obvious cause, but the more frightening aspect is the manipulation of our vote.

I am a student of communication; brain science and emotion. I see the manipulation happening. It makes me extremely concerned that we are so naïve. 

P.T. Barnum (purveyor of side shows and circus acts) said, “There is a sucker born every minute.” I hear conspiracy theories in abundance when I know you can’t typically get five people to agree on what movie to see, much less carry out some elaborate plan involving thousands of people.

So, let’s ditch the “new normal” for the Better Normal. 

The one where every person on this earth is our brother and sister and judged on their skills and abilities…period. 

Where, if you are a jerk in any ethnicity, sexuality, political party or religion, you are called out on your behavior but not demeaned as a human.

Where the vote we cast is not on party lines but on the record of the person as it aligns with our belief about what is best for all the people in our country and not just ourselves.

This requires that we actually STUDY the voting record and platform and not gather our information from listening to the political ad campaigns.  That could be a better normal too.  No political campaign funding by special interest groups.   Just fundraising from grass roots people who believe in the cause.  Maximum donation $1000.  We change the way we cast votes to use our fingerprint on our phones or, if you don’t have a smart phone,off to the polls or library to vote. After voting all the fingerprint records are deleted but only one vote per fingerprint.  Votes are tallied in real time.  If American Idol can do it, so can the government. 

Even better – we run for office and vote for term limits and get these entrenched political hacks off our payroll.

What if we study history?  Real history with all the people included not just the white guys.  I do not want to pick on white guys because they have contributed a great deal to the making of our country, but so have many others that have not been acknowledged.

What if instead of idolizing vacuous, self-serving “stars” on screens and social media, we start emulating people who make our country better by being moral, generous, and kind? 

What if we quit making “all” statements that generalize people by the negative behavior of a few and ignore the positive contributions of the many?

What if we valued our Earth and protected it by reducing our footprint, spending the extra money to support companies that are conscious of their impact and boycotting those that continue to pollute?

What if we just walked out our door every morning with a set intention to be kind and to make the world better instead of seeing who we can use to elevate our own agenda?

To recycle that plastic.

To not be wasteful.

To invest in things that last.

To give to our neighbor.

To reach out to a friend.  

To turn off the device and turn on nature.

To support our coworker.

To teach rather than shame for lack of knowledge.

To be pleasant to those who serve us.

To not judge.

To assume positive intention. 

To listen more than talk.

To stay in dialog with those whom we disagree.

To seek at least one piece of common ground with the person you dislike.

What if we all focused intently on making the new normal a “Better Normal”?

I am in. Are you?