We all love going to the circus, but we want to wake up in our own beds next morning. I think this is the point Liz Cheney made when she said that the humiliation of the “Red Wave” was a victory for Team Normal.
Cheney, or whoever on her staff coined the term “Team Normal”, deserves a place in the pantheon of political speech writers alongside the authors of such succinct metaphorical sound bites as “Silent Majority” and “Its Morning in America”.
“Normal”, of course, means different things to different people, but I think we can all agree that it can be defined as the absence of abnormal. And abnormal aptly describes the political climate that we have all experienced in the last few years.
Team Normal describes us folks who are exhausted by the abnormality of American politics these days, and who just want to give their amygdalas a little breather.
We’ve just spent a long weekend at the circus; laughing at the clowns, marveling the lions and gorging ourselves on political cotton candy. We are sunburned, dehydrated and the kids are all cranky and full of sugar. Who among us wouldn’t want things to just get back to normal after an experience like that?
“Normal” is the default setting for humans. Its where we do our best work together.
Oh sure, we can tolerate chaos and drama in small doses. But if lunacy is prolonged, if the circus never stops and we are drawn into it, then a deep weariness in our bones sets in. We know instinctively that something is wrong.
And we want things to get back to normal, pronto.
I can make the case that a little chaos and uncertainty is good for democracy. When we get complacent and stuck in a rut, then a bit of chaos is necessary to blow the soot out of the engine. Our Civil War is a case in point.
After years of bloodshed and war, the country just wanted to get back to normal. And when we did, we were able to unite the country through the trans-continental railroad and rebuild the nation stronger than ever. That could not have happened without us getting back to normal.
To paraphrase Gordon Gecko, “Normal is good”.
I can hear the fire-breathers from both sides of the political spectrum contradicting me. Those on the right will say, “Screw normal. Normal is Drag Queen Story Hour. Its Hillary’s emails and open borders. Its BLM and Antifa burning our cities”
The left will chime in, “Screw normal. Normal is prayer in schools. Its Big Oil killing us for profit, and Wall Street shafting us. Its cow farts and storm trooper cops”.
But both sides are wrong. Normal is American people more or less calmly working out the problems in our system without resorting to violence, whether literal or figurative. Normal is us trusting the tools in our toolbox to get the job done.
Normal is compromise, a dirty word to the hair-on-fire crowd from both sides.
So kudos to Liz Cheney, both for brilliant political wordsmithing in coining the term Team Normal, and for realizing that a state of normalcy is an absolute requirement if we expect to get anything done as a nation.
Team Normal – it rolls off the tongue nicely. I want a t-shirt!