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Hollow Hope

By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech

Why are we settling for a return to normal?

That’s the hope we hear expressed every day, right? Whether it’s described as the new normal, the old one or some other version, the end state we seek in defeating this terrible pandemic always seems to be what’s typical, usual or expected. It’s our dream, our craving to reestablish what used to be.

Now, I appreciate that there’s a certain comfort in the known. We humans hate change, so simply going back to our old routine can feel safe and reassuring. But, it’s a hollow hope. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that what used to be normal was far from perfect. For an awful lot of us, normal has been brutal income inequality; intractable racial, gender and age bias; and savage gun violence.

Which begs the question, can’t we do better? Shouldn’t we reinvigorate our hope with something that brings us much closer to our founding aspirations? Doing so, after all, is a part of our national DNA. We Americans have always been an opportunistic people. We turn crises into advancements. We see challenges as the stepping stones to our better selves. And, to a more perfect union.

But, what would such an alternative end state look like? I believe it will have three attributes:

Unconditional Actualization for All – America will be a place where every man, woman and child is empowered and encouraged to be the best of themselves.

The Age of Self-Ennoblement – America will open a time when every person is free to work at applying the best of themselves to the betterment of others and the Earth.

The world’s first noble democracy – America will create a reality that transforms what’s typical, usual and expected into an extraordinary expression of human talent and conscience.

It won’t be easy achieving such a transformation, but we can. And, we must. It’s imperative not only that we take on this task but that we begin right away. The possibility is fleeting. The opportunity will never come again. If we let it slip by us, the best we can hope for is a return to what’s normal.