I was shopping at Radermacher’s the other day and met an old friend — oh, wait — he wouldn’t want me to describe him as “old.” Let’s say he’s full of life’s lessons, and I’ve known him for years.

We talked about many things in a short encounter. (It was 100 degrees in the parking lot.) Like why do people think wearing a mask in a store is about protecting themselves? It’s not. It’s about protecting everyone else from them. And is selfishness becoming more common?

The last thing he said was he wondered how people were going to react to “the new normal.”

That got me to thinking, which as you know, is a dangerous thing.

We will not get a choice about what is “the new normal.” It will be thrust upon us whether we like it or not. It will probably involve the loss of some businesses we cherish. It will almost certainly result in more polarization, which will lead more and more people to fear saying what they think, lest they offend their neighbors. Maybe the new normal will lead to more people voting.

Actually, I think it will. See, the “sheeple” everyone wants to make fun of are actually shock cords on the line connecting the boat of extremists to the dock of reality. More and more, “sheeple” are being driven to one extreme or the other. When the shock cord is gone, the boat of extremists will snap the line. It will drift away from reality while the extremists fight over their extremes. Thus, extremism will be part of the new normal.

Media manipulation has been going on since the Spanish-American War. No reason to think that will change. But (there’s always a but) people are reacting to information now, not facts. Did the truck plow into demonstrators on the highway? No. In fact the only person who was injured in the incident was the truck driver, who was beaten by the demonstrators. Should rioters and looters be held responsible for their actions? Yes. And so should a police officer who chokes and kills a suspect in custody for a property crime — or any other crime for that matter.

Those of us in Jordan who’ve been paying attention over the years can cite a handful of media manipulations — things mentioned, things hidden, blatant falsehoods, distortions, and inflammatory accusations. The end result is much of what finds its way into the media is either cheerleading, or selective release of facts. I think the new normal, in this regard, will be pretty much the same as the old normal.

Jordan’s new normal probably will be significantly different from the Twin Cities’ new normal, in part simply because we have fewer people. That means few, if any people will die due to COVD-19 (I sincerely hope). It also means racial diversity will not happen in our police department, mainly because would-be officers of color will want to serve in cities with larger, more diverse populations.

And finally, the new normal will look just like the old normal in terms of deficit spending because so many people want so much from their government. Colonizing the moon costs money. Expanding schools cost money. Bridges cost money.

So, “the new normal?” It’s coming. And the only question is, how do we respond?

The Quote: “I have four strikes against me. I’m Black, I’m short, I’m intelligent, and I have a medical condition.” -Gary Coleman

Thom Boncher is a retired marketing communications manager, former Jordan City Council member and Jordan resident since 2003.

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