A New Day…

A new normal. That’s what we often longingly spoke of back in the midst of the darkest pandemic days.

It’s here now, and it is new, and it is not normal— not if our frame of reference is remembering being able to stop at the local coffee shop or restaurant any old time of day and expecting to be waited on. Some—many—of those places are closed now, or understaffed with reduced hours, because their employees never came back. And it’s not just eating establishments. Help Wanted signs are everywhere, and the signing bonuses are mind- boggling.

New car dealerships still have mostly used cars displayed out front, people are still being hospitalized with the virus, case numbers are still high, the only difference being that many of us are protected by vaccines or having already been infected. The fact that the virus is mutating and poking holes in the vaccine defense appears to raise few eyebrows anymore.

The CDC is offering a mea culpa, saying it could have done better, even though they warned us all along the way and their guidance wasn’t as confusing as some are making it out to have been. What seems to get lost in this conversation is that the President was doing his best ostrich imitation the whole time by telling everyone not to be concerned, preaching that there was nothing to worry about, or coming late to the party and pitching ridiculous and dangerous treatment options. Isn’t it possible that the CDC was off its game at least in part because the Trump administration had done a thorough enough job of controlling the narrative and itself cultivating mass confusion? The people who needed to be on the same page weren’t close to being on the same page.

One of the most frustrating aspects of this long nightmare was the tendency for many all of a sudden becoming experts on things they knew little or nothing about. Perhaps because they listened to and believed their heartless President, and the talking heads at Fox News.

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