Throughout the last year the term normal has been used quite a bit to describe the fearful direction many feel this country is heading. This is somewhat fitting because the term normalcy entered the American lexicon during the inauguration address of Warren G. Harding in 1921. Harding succeeded a president who was a progressive and earned a PhD and is consider to be a great president by historians. In direct contrast Harding was a known to bloviate when giving stump speeches, had a large libido, and his presidency was tarnished by the Teapot Dome scandal due to corrupt cabinet officials. Despite all of these parallels to the past, as a country we have to figure out what is going to be the new normal.
Traditionally, the office of the president has been viewed as the epitome of dignity and grace. Over the past few years a segment of the American population lost respect for the institution and the norms of democracy. With nihilistic fervor, an enraged minority of the electorate wanted someone to represent the country who has a total disregard for civility and any standard of decency. The American people are represented by someone who often displays characteristics that were once considered deviant and unacceptable for the public. This would not be too harmful to society if kids did not exist, but they not only exist, but they mimic behaviors they witness from authority figures. The most disturbing aspect of the current cultural decline is that it signals what direction the youth are being steered toward.
Over the past year the world has witnessed a leader who has a tenuous relationship with the facts, considers marginalized people as nothing more than scapegoats, and brags about violating the rights of women. The fact that such a person can be elected to the highest office in the land says something about the deep seated values the country finds at the very least tacitly acceptable. Besides the clear-cultural sickness, the country appears to be splitting apart in factions thus creating divided states. One of the problems with this trend is that when situations force people to interact with a person from another background; communication can go awry and divisions deepen. This view is not necessarily an indictment of any group in particular, but a possibility of things to come.
As disturbing as this view may seem, it is not too late to turn the culture around in a better direction. This can and should be accomplished on the individual level. The message that should be conveyed to kids is that this is not acceptable behavior. Just because someone comes from a higher class does not mean that person should be able to get away with saying obscene things and violating the rights of other people. It is extremely hypocritical for a parent who voted for that candidate and tell their kids this is unacceptable behavior but it is necessary that kids hear that message. It is up to you and community organizations like Making It to The Finish Line to help steer the culture away from a canyon they can never climb out of.