February 5, 2011
Denial of the truth or apathy?
I recently received this email message from a pen pal who lives in South Carolina. I initially thought about writing an article with these same thoughts. Then it occurred to me that I could not say it any better...or as well, so I decided to just share his email message directly. Thanks to Bob Bell for his willingness to allow me to share his thoughts that are so well expressed.
I was listening this AM to some post game analysis of the NH primary; one story is that the Romney camp is so certain of victory they have begun doing research on strategies and themes to take Obama on in the general; one of the themes they have, evidently, latched onto to capture what a Romney presidency is all about is "A Return to Normalcy!" They have been reported to be testing it in focus groups.
Realizing that the job of message makers is to come up with something pithy which appeals to the largest percentage and insults the smallest, I thought this theme was quite relevant to the question you posed and which I attempted to answer: why are people so convinced our current problems and issues can be solved by conventional wisdom and solutions which have worked before? The political equivalent of the old saying that the generals always fight the next war with the last war's weapons.
It appears the Romney team has done their homework and has concluded a large percentage of the electorate lusts for the most recent version of "the good old days;" you know when everybody had a job, your employer paid your health insurance, your 401 K was growing daily and no one had to worry whether or not their SS or Medicare programs would go belly up before they did.
So what is normalcy and when does yearning for it turn into complacency, or worse yet, an inability to adjust to new circumstances? I have used the phrase a "new normal" to describe how I read what is happening to our world; and I believe that conclusion to be valid because many of the factors influencing our world are neither normal nor minimal; but if both our political leaders keep selling and our people keep buying the concept that nothing really important is going on and having an impact on our lives and that of our kids, then we are, truly, doomed. How can we be motivated to adapt and make the significant changes necessary if we actually believe in a past reality?