Thoughts on the Return to “Normal” Politics

Xera Britt, staff writer

“Normal” is racist. “Normal” is exploitative. “Normal” is corrupt. These notions of escaping politics are either misinformed or privileged positions where they have the option not to care.

Something has to be made evidently clear here: Trump did not start racism. He didn’t pioneer exploitation. He certainly didn’t create concentration camps on his lonesome, with his bare hands. Trump didn’t plow through national reservations simply because he decided he could. Racism, exploitation and corruption based on greed is not the invention of the toupeed Muppet. But these notions of normality seem to imply that the end of Trump’s presidency means the end of all of these, or at least the end of the period where they have to care. 

Much of President Biden’s first orders were based around righting wrongs made by his predecessor, including ones edged into service in the last dying days of the former presidency. Orders that have the US rejoining the Paris agreement for climate change, cancelling Keystone XL permits, banning LGBTQ+ based discrimination and a litany of other Trump-Era orders that can be summarized as having anywhere from a somewhat to an extremely bad effect on our country over the last four years. 

But questions stand at the beginning of the Biden administration: Is this enough? Can we take a breath of relief? Will things go back to normal? Should they?

At this point, we all know the utter nonsense of a person that is Donald J. Trump and his… let’s say lackluster administration. It’s very likely you may have sat back and relaxed a little bit when he lost the election, sighed a breath of relief as someone who doesn’t tweet like a chimpanzee with a typewriter was inaugurated. Finally, things wouldn’t be so crazy anymore. 

But should we be feeling this way? Should we be relaxing? I’ve seen many on Twitter who seem to think so. Perhaps not so popularly or commonly, but here and there, I’ll read a tweet that says something along the lines of, “It’ll be nice to stop paying attention to politics.”

Now, I want to preface this by saying I believe now is a time for a bit of relaxation and respite. But I, and apparently others on the platform, are picking up the idea that some of these notions seem to communicate a contentedness to leave politics now that the funny orange man is not in the presidency, that now everything can go back to “normal.” 

I wanted to get more input than social media strangers when it came to the inauguration, so I took the question to an Auggie first-year group chat. The general consensus seemed to be that, while Biden was a step up, expectations weren’t high. 

First-year Heldon Centellas said quite well, however, that “Fighting for worker’s rights, social justice, environmental justice, etc shouldn’t end just because there’s a Democrat in office, especially when this is the same guy that helped increase mass incarceration and supported devastating wars during his career.” 

This not only concurred with what I had found online, but what I had come to believe as well: We cannot stop at returning to a “normal.” We cannot stop because we have a semi-sane old white man in office again. The fight for a better society should continue. 

Paying attention to politics and holding them accountable should be the new “normal.” I plan on keeping as close an eye on Biden as I can, and while celebrations are in order, I advise you to do the same.