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Monday, Jan. 25, 2021

Do We Really Want ‘Normal’?

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Sticking with the same old routine

From back in 2019, when Joe Biden released a video announcing his decision to run for president for a third time, the headlines positioned him as the “return to normalcy” candidate. “Joe Biden’s presidency could make America normal again,” screamed The New York Post, and The Boston Globe blared, “Biden inauguration promised return to normalcy.”

“Back to normal with Biden,” chimed countless pundits, proclaiming “The Biden Era Is the Return to Normal.”

And indeed, Biden built his presidential campaign exclusively on normalcy. Even Biden’s old boss, Barack Obama, said as much last November: “(Joe) will restore a bunch of norms.”

But isn’t a return to normal also a return to the past? Of course it is.

To a time when the labor force participation rate plummeted faster than any time in U.S. history under the Obama administration, instead of to the time when jobless claims hit a 50-year low during the Trump administration.

To a time when the highest unemployment rates in the U.S. were among African- Americans and Hispanics under the Obama administration, and not to the time when the unemployment rates for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and those without a high school diploma all reached record lows under the Trump administration.

To a time when African-Americans saw their lowest homeownership rates in 25 years under Obama, and not to the time African- American homeownership increased 10% under Trump.

To a time when the gap between the rich and poor widened more than at any time in our nation’s history under Obama, and not to the time when the bottom 50 percent of American households saw a 40 percent increase in net worth, with wages rising fastest for low-income and blue collar workers under Trump.

To a time when energy costs were rising and energy development was stifled, as it was during the Obama administration, and not to the time when the U.S. became energyindependent – something that presidents for over 50 years have sought to achieve for our national security – under the Trump administration.

To a time of ever-increasing levels of violence, chaos and diminished U.S. influence in the Middle East under Obama, and not to the time of the Middle East peace agreements under Trump.

So, if this was what Biden meant when he promised, after last November’s election, that “life is going to return to normal,” I think his voters will be surprised of just how “normal” life will soon become.

Biden has taken deliberate care to appoint Obama administration veterans to his Cabinet and senior positions, to make it all feel “normal” again, and to move away from the political outsiders that populated the Trump administration.

But is that what we want, then? Just normal? Normal is conforming. Usual. Typical. Routine.

This isn’t who we are as a country, though. Our nation would never have been founded if the 56 men signing the Declaration of Independence had accepted conforming to England’s demands. Martin Luther King Jr. would never have achieved so many of his historic accomplishments if he surrendered to what was the usual or typical. Ronald Reagan would not have ended the Cold War if all he thought possible was what was normal.

And we stick with normal – if we keep doing what we’re doing – we’ll just keep getting what we’ve been getting.

But if history is any guide, that will just feel normal, for far too many.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.

Letters To The Editor

Dear Sir,

Robert Lachman “thanks God” that Donald Trump is leaving the presidency, and you need to shut the hell up. One wonders if Mr. Lachman read any reports by the numerous statisticians and actuaries who made very convincing presentations to various swing state legislative panels and secretaries of state about the irregularities occurring between the closings of polls and the reopenings the next morning, to a “surprise” Biden lead? I assume that the presumption of Trump as a racist, white supremacist, narcissist justifies the disenfranchisement and smearing of half the American electorate is copacetic with Lachman. He’s probably not a defender of the First Amendment, though I suspect he would say California’s SB 145 “doesn’t go far enough.”

Thank God Biden is not (for the moment) suggesting Mr. Lachman head up his new COVID-19 passport enforcement team. – Perry McBride

Dear Sir,

Concerning comments from Robert Lachman (Jan. 13 edition of 318 Forum): Everyone on both sides of this turmoil wants the same thing. Peace. Without face-to-face discourse, our differences cannot be settled. Only the truth, love of our fellow man (friend or foe), and love of God will bring peace. We cannot solve our differences by preventing the other side from stating theirs. Thank God our country allows both Mr. Lachman and Mr. Avallone the freedom of speech.

– Glen Ritter, Bossier City


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