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Yesterday I Shook Hands With A Man…And I Liked It

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

The unbelievable situation we find ourselves in is the stuff of science fiction novels and apocalyptic thrillers.  

When the Wuhan Flu or Coronavirus or COVID-19 or whatever you want to call it hit the shores of the Red, White, and Blue we had no idea what would happen. No one did. They all used computer models, which turned out to be false to terrorize Americans and the world into submission. They succeeded.

Depending on your location you have endured whatever edict came from your state capitol. In the name of “Flattening the Curve” and saving lives we all got in line. We stayed at home. We let the government close down virtually all small businesses while hand picking a few to deem them essential. Restaurants, bars, hair salons, local flower shops, bakeries, and more were all forced to close and most still are.

It hurt some of us to watch ‘Big Box Stores’ thrive and boom knowing it was the nail being pounded into the coffin of our friends and neighbor’s small business. No amount of government aid will save many of them.

Virtually all schools were closed sending the nations children and academics online and forcing most parents to become teachers’ aides while also perhaps trying to keep doing their own job from home.

Millions of others filed for unemployment as they watched their jobs disappear. Will they come back? That is a very real stress that weighs heavy and takes the fun out of being locked up in your house indefinitely.

The city parks were closed. Virtually all large events and even baseball was cancelled! Roads were empty, gas prices plummeted, as we all cowered before an unknown fear.

So here we are. The models have all been altered. The curve has been flattened maybe, who knows for sure? Across the nation governors are talking about reopening the nation as a general unrest amongst the citizenry is palpable.

People are still uneasy. They are divided, and unsure. Even your doctor or nurse friends are unsure what to do next. Everyone is tired, but literally no one wants to put people at risk after all that we’ve done.

Like the third movie in a trilogy it comes slinking across social media. Part 1 was called, The Lockdown: Stay Home Save Lives. Part 2, The Struggle: We’re All in This Together, and finally Part 3 is, The New Normal – Things Will Never Be the Same.

This is where I cry out. Screw that! No, we will not have a new normal! The old normal was just fine.

America will not accept a new normal. Try as you might to push that agenda, I don’t believe it will sell. Americans have been surprisingly compliant as we watched virtually all of our God and constitutionally-given rights trampled. We came together to face an unknown fear. An unstoppable death, but people have had enough.

A growing number are venturing out and defying orders even opening back up in some cases without permission. Lockdown loving governors are even seeing protests in their capitols as house arrest orders are beginning to weigh heavily on freedom -oving patriots.

It is becoming increasingly unsure whether the lockdown was even the correct thing to do. As that thought settles into the back of the minds of those who have lost their jobs, their businesses, or even just the missed the Senior Prom, anger and mistrust of our government takes root. When this all began, I worried it would make it easier for the government to do it again in the future and especially our young people will be conditioned to accept it. I’m not so sure now. I think it may fall into the category of something to never do again.

People say we must accept the new normal. No, no we don’t.

If you try to tell me we won’t fill baseball stadiums again or enjoy an Oktoberfest or give hugs or visit our friends or eat in a restaurant or sit in a work meeting face to face or go whichever direction we want down the aisles at a grocery store or go mask free to show the world your smile or fly in planes or visit church or amusement parks or beaches and on and on….I say no.

Americans will not give all that up. We will not submit to wearing masks indefinitely. We will not give up all that is wonderful about our amazing nation and world. There should not be a new normal.

People are willing to risk getting sick to gain herd immunity. Brilliant people work night and day to find cures or vaccines. We won’t rest till it’s done, but some of us are already there.

I shook hands with a man yesterday and I liked it.

In my full-time career, I am a realtor and a contractor. I work with stereotypical construction type guys. I met an excavator at a job site to talk over a few things about the upcoming project. He’s a big man. A rough looking man, who wears an old flannel and an ancient ball cap. He drives a big truck and works with full sized Tonka toys for a living. I’ve known him for years but haven’t seen him face to face in six months.

He walked right up to me and stuck his hand out like Americans do. I tried to hide the fear on my face. I hadn’t shaken anyone’s hand since February. I could have pulled away and said something like, hey elbows! But I didn’t. I just went for it and grasped his big hand and tightly squeezed while sharing eye contact like me dad taught me do. It felt good. I guess we may have shared the virus to each other, but maybe not. Time will tell, but I knew at that moment, accepting the new normal mantra is a non-starter for Americans.

It’s time to shake hands and fire up the engines of this great nation. We’ve been through worse. We’ll get through this.

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