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Politics

The new normal that isn't

Kathleen Parker on

WASHINGTON -- Across much of media lately, the phrase "new normal" keeps cropping up to describe what is, in fact, not normal, as most sane adults have understood its meaning.

This is to say, the everyday machinations and human behaviors typical within a healthy, robust society have shifted gears and evolved, not in a good way, to accommodate new circumstances. Overwhelmed by natural and un-natural disasters -- from California's infernos to frequent mass shootings -- we gradually habituate to extreme expressions of both Nature and man.

Incrementally, we become inured to the oddness of things.

It is undoubtedly helpful during such times to be a sociopath, who doesn't feel much of anything beyond his or own immediate narcissistic needs. When, say, an entire town is incinerated, leaving dozens dead and hundreds missing, it is surely less horrifying if empathy is absent.

Or, when a foreign-born U.S. resident is tortured, murdered and chopped to pieces, not necessarily in that order, one can still capture 10 hours of REM without tangling the sheets of one's rest. Ever disinclined to put his or her feet in someone else's shoes -- because his or her own are so much finer -- nothing on the planet is his or her concern.

You realize, of course, that I'm using "her" as a mandatory attendant to the gender-neutral theory that both sexes are equally susceptible to toxic narcissism, as perhaps they are. I'm crossing all the T's, in other words, to avoid saying Donald Trump. But, then, you knew that.

 

Speaking of the devil, this isn't to blame the president for the occurrences described but rather to suggest that his dubious (absurd, weird, bonkers) reactions contribute to a larger lunacy that threatens to become commonplace and, therefore, also part of the new normal.

When reality is ignored or recharacterized in ways that defy logical thinking and mute rational rebuttal, then "new normal" becomes, drip by drip, just another category of current events. This (horrible, tragic, bizarre) thing happened and the president said this (loony, off-the-wall, obscene) thing.

Welp, welcome to the new normal, says the smiling commentator. We'll be right back after this quick break.

When the fires swept through parts of California, Trump first blamed the forest managers, then intoned that fires wouldn't happen if forest floors were raked. Right. Rakes. We need more rakes. Jobs, jobs, jobs!

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