The new American normalcy: A somber truth

Joe Reynolds

Michael Jordan is returning to the NBA, and it is a back page story. A cloud of uncertainty and unforeseen lunacy has developed, stretched itself from sea to shining sea, and is raining on American culture. It is forever chilling the society we had become so accustomed to.
In the wake of the tragic horror that was unleashed against the United States on September 11, Americans are struggling to find any reasonable normalcy in their lives. The question that has seemingly been unanswerable is, “What is an appropriate normalcy?”
We have been forced to contemplate a wide variety of sensitive and difficult questions. How do we resume our carefree lifestyle without disrespecting the magnitude of the tragedy? How loud should we cheer at baseball games? How irreverent should late-night comedy be?
America must face a philosophical and political dilemma that is unprecedented in scope. How do we foster peace, while attaining justice? How do we insure tranquility, serenity, and brotherhood? Would a full-scale war actually create peace in the long run? Would such a conflict mitigate and justify the human consequences?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, and such humility will be the key to real progress. The test of time has proven that balanced ideology is what sustains and improves humanity. We must first recognize the moral and social ambiguity of our situation before we rush into emotional judgments.
The only sure thing is that there is no sure thing. We must celebrate our prophetic ignorance. There is simply no certitude in such immensely personal matters as the proper way to mourn, and the proper method of seeking eternal justice. Anyone who disregards the gray area is a fraud, buried in an avalanche of arrogance. There is no way to know what is the perfect or “right” thing to do – we can only ask for altruistic motives.
American priorities have certainly been altered. When was the last time anyone heard Gary Condit’s name? Newscasts are no longer devoting time to Tom and Nicole’s divorce or Mariah Carey’s mental breakdown. Many people have ridiculously pretended that our world was some kind of blissful Utopia, before September 11, and that is why so many fluff pieces became hard news, but this is a malicious falsehood. There was still fighting in Northern Ireland, still rampant disease in Africa, still uncontrollable poverty on the back streets of our own supposedly golden society. If nothing else, the events of September 11 must serve as a wake-up call. They must force us to become aware of the all too imperfect world that surrounds us.
The desperation and anger that we have been forced to cope with is perpetually and silently echoed by the masses of forgotten humanity located both around the globe and in our own backyard. So be unafraid when uncertainty confronts you, it is the nature of our condition. We must slosh through the rain before we can appreciate the radiance of the sun.