The USA Needs a 'Return to Normalcy' Now More than in 1920

In a speech preceding his run for the presidency in May 1920, Warren G. Harding stated, "America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality."  History textbooks typically portray Pres. Harding as a lackluster individual surrounded by corruption during his presidency, notably the Teapot Dome scandal.  Nevertheless, the above words carry a hopeful message far beyond the sycophantic appeals to the public we often hear from today's office-seekers and office-holders.

Let us then consider some of the antinomies in the above comments and apply them to today's sociopolitical and economic landscape.  Harding notes particularly the "need for healing, not heroics ... need for adjustment, not agitation ... not nostrums, but normalcy."

The Democrats increasingly portray the USA as a land of exploitation.  It is a land of broken promises and broken dreams, not a land of opportunity, as more naïve generations believed.  For Democrats, ours is a land of betrayal and selfishness, as well as racial and sexual exploitation.  The entire culture is a megalomaniacal drama created in the image of "toxic masculinity" to benefit white, heterosexual males – typically waving the banner of Christianity – in the fight for cultural hegemony.  Now is the time to right the wrongs inflicted upon us by these selfish-to-the-core, rotten people like the elitist Founding Fathers; the aggressive, selfish, maniacal, genocidal pioneers who settled the West; the aristocratic 1% of plantation-owners in the South who gave us slavery; and the 1% today who give us wage slavery and a declining middle class.

Further, the rotten capitalists built the economy on the backs of immigrants – who were treated like scum and exploited – and took us into war after war, beginning with the Spanish-American War of 1898 through the present U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  These wars were imperialistic ventures unleashed upon an unsuspecting populace to further develop the financial interests of the top 1%, or even the top 0.1%, and appease their infinite greed.  Class warfare, racial warfare, and warfare against the fairer sex by denying them full participation in our political and economic life must be incessantly waged.  The entire #metoo movement is intended to feed and enlarge this negative myth of our society.

Warfare on these fronts require heroics, or if not heroics then at least heroic posturing.  Public cries of indignation abound within the rhetoric of the Democrats.  They are cries for more struggle against the powers that be, against the status quo, against the nation-state in favor of a global vision, against federalism and states' right in the name of national unity or the "general welfare."  They dispute even the legal results of the 2016 presidential election, with a feigned indignation, as though that election was stolen from the majority by collusion with the Russians or by bogus and outdated laws that deny the rightful claims of the majority.

The majority, they say, voted for an old lady totally committed to all the dispossessed groups and subgroups of society.  She is a person of smarts, class, and experience.  Her heroism is on display to all, as she survived all attempts by the white, male, Christian, sexist hegemonic conspiracy to destroy her career.  As a lawyer, proactive first lady, senator, and secretary of state, she has proven herself to be a towering, heroic figure.  She is to be assumed sufficiently steadfast against the various tyrannies that beset our culture.  She is heroic.  She is a political Wonder Woman.  She wears the pantsuit in the family.  Her mistakes are merely part of her needed survival strategy in a world hostile to all she represents.

How can one argue against support of this hellish "ice queen"?  Harding has the answer.  Today, just as America after WWI, after the throes of big government introduced by the War Production Board, by the Federal Reserve, and by the Federal Income Tax, America needed a "return to normalcy."  During the ten years preceding Harding, we see a realignment of our institutions in the direction of empowering the federal government with new powers never envisioned by the Founders, a betrayal of the previous 100-plus years of U.S. history.  If the answer he proposed then was valid, how much more is it valid today?  If H.C., the heroic old lady of the Democrats, and other surging demagogues among the Democrats are standing tall on the idea of a big government and global government as needed to right hundreds of years of wrongs, then do we not need a return to normalcy more than ever before?

This writer grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Philadelphia.  All the families on my block were intact – moms and dads and their children.  The residents were poorly educated, but the families were intact, and they owned their own small row houses, TVs, and cars.  The men worked, and the women raised the kids.  Were those women ignorant, exploited females?  That is a rhetorical question.  The wives and moms were smart, tough, determined, purposeful, joyful, engaged human beings.  The men lived and died for their kids and their wives, loving, protective, forceful, good, friendly, good-humored, articulate, and warm.  My father made out income taxes for his fellow bus drivers for a small fee.  The men came to our homes, including his black co-workers.  They sat in our living room as my dad filled out their tax forms.  Meanwhile, how many black working people were sitting in the living room of the elitist Clintons?  Or the Rodhams?  Protestants, Catholics, and Jews went to the same public schools, where reading from the Psalms every day was allowed, and sometimes prayer.  This was before these were ruled illegal by a corrupt judiciary.

This snapshot from my past is one photo of normalcy to which we must return.  Millions of other snapshots of normalcy could be collected.  The freak show of modern life with its turmoil and loss of freedoms needs to make a right turn at the next intersection and re-engage with those millions of normal snapshots from the lives of normal people.  The old lady Ivy League-style heroism of Madame Pantsuit is not needed.  It is based on perpetual conflict within the body politic, a conflict that does not have to exist.  It is a conflict perpetuated by Madame Pantsuit and her ilk.  It is concocted by the pointy heads of racial conflict, of class warfare, and of intersex competition.

Instead, love is needed as well as unity of groups and the hope that abides in a normalized unity.  We need to adjust to each other, just as members of a unified family learn to accept each other, warts and all, with a benign and good-humored tolerance or, even, enjoyment of the others' flaws.  Mrs. Pantsuit is not a heroine, nor are others who portray themselves in similar fashion – i.e., as survivors in the bogus struggle to defend the underdogs and exploited.  Fighting so-called inequities is now a form of iniquity.  We need to be neo-Hardingites – strike a healing note, and downplay disunity and the increasing government size that is justified as the cure for that disunity.

In a speech preceding his run for the presidency in May 1920, Warren G. Harding stated, "America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality."  History textbooks typically portray Pres. Harding as a lackluster individual surrounded by corruption during his presidency, notably the Teapot Dome scandal.  Nevertheless, the above words carry a hopeful message far beyond the sycophantic appeals to the public we often hear from today's office-seekers and office-holders.

Let us then consider some of the antinomies in the above comments and apply them to today's sociopolitical and economic landscape.  Harding notes particularly the "need for healing, not heroics ... need for adjustment, not agitation ... not nostrums, but normalcy."

The Democrats increasingly portray the USA as a land of exploitation.  It is a land of broken promises and broken dreams, not a land of opportunity, as more naïve generations believed.  For Democrats, ours is a land of betrayal and selfishness, as well as racial and sexual exploitation.  The entire culture is a megalomaniacal drama created in the image of "toxic masculinity" to benefit white, heterosexual males – typically waving the banner of Christianity – in the fight for cultural hegemony.  Now is the time to right the wrongs inflicted upon us by these selfish-to-the-core, rotten people like the elitist Founding Fathers; the aggressive, selfish, maniacal, genocidal pioneers who settled the West; the aristocratic 1% of plantation-owners in the South who gave us slavery; and the 1% today who give us wage slavery and a declining middle class.

Further, the rotten capitalists built the economy on the backs of immigrants – who were treated like scum and exploited – and took us into war after war, beginning with the Spanish-American War of 1898 through the present U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  These wars were imperialistic ventures unleashed upon an unsuspecting populace to further develop the financial interests of the top 1%, or even the top 0.1%, and appease their infinite greed.  Class warfare, racial warfare, and warfare against the fairer sex by denying them full participation in our political and economic life must be incessantly waged.  The entire #metoo movement is intended to feed and enlarge this negative myth of our society.

Warfare on these fronts require heroics, or if not heroics then at least heroic posturing.  Public cries of indignation abound within the rhetoric of the Democrats.  They are cries for more struggle against the powers that be, against the status quo, against the nation-state in favor of a global vision, against federalism and states' right in the name of national unity or the "general welfare."  They dispute even the legal results of the 2016 presidential election, with a feigned indignation, as though that election was stolen from the majority by collusion with the Russians or by bogus and outdated laws that deny the rightful claims of the majority.

The majority, they say, voted for an old lady totally committed to all the dispossessed groups and subgroups of society.  She is a person of smarts, class, and experience.  Her heroism is on display to all, as she survived all attempts by the white, male, Christian, sexist hegemonic conspiracy to destroy her career.  As a lawyer, proactive first lady, senator, and secretary of state, she has proven herself to be a towering, heroic figure.  She is to be assumed sufficiently steadfast against the various tyrannies that beset our culture.  She is heroic.  She is a political Wonder Woman.  She wears the pantsuit in the family.  Her mistakes are merely part of her needed survival strategy in a world hostile to all she represents.

How can one argue against support of this hellish "ice queen"?  Harding has the answer.  Today, just as America after WWI, after the throes of big government introduced by the War Production Board, by the Federal Reserve, and by the Federal Income Tax, America needed a "return to normalcy."  During the ten years preceding Harding, we see a realignment of our institutions in the direction of empowering the federal government with new powers never envisioned by the Founders, a betrayal of the previous 100-plus years of U.S. history.  If the answer he proposed then was valid, how much more is it valid today?  If H.C., the heroic old lady of the Democrats, and other surging demagogues among the Democrats are standing tall on the idea of a big government and global government as needed to right hundreds of years of wrongs, then do we not need a return to normalcy more than ever before?

This writer grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Philadelphia.  All the families on my block were intact – moms and dads and their children.  The residents were poorly educated, but the families were intact, and they owned their own small row houses, TVs, and cars.  The men worked, and the women raised the kids.  Were those women ignorant, exploited females?  That is a rhetorical question.  The wives and moms were smart, tough, determined, purposeful, joyful, engaged human beings.  The men lived and died for their kids and their wives, loving, protective, forceful, good, friendly, good-humored, articulate, and warm.  My father made out income taxes for his fellow bus drivers for a small fee.  The men came to our homes, including his black co-workers.  They sat in our living room as my dad filled out their tax forms.  Meanwhile, how many black working people were sitting in the living room of the elitist Clintons?  Or the Rodhams?  Protestants, Catholics, and Jews went to the same public schools, where reading from the Psalms every day was allowed, and sometimes prayer.  This was before these were ruled illegal by a corrupt judiciary.

This snapshot from my past is one photo of normalcy to which we must return.  Millions of other snapshots of normalcy could be collected.  The freak show of modern life with its turmoil and loss of freedoms needs to make a right turn at the next intersection and re-engage with those millions of normal snapshots from the lives of normal people.  The old lady Ivy League-style heroism of Madame Pantsuit is not needed.  It is based on perpetual conflict within the body politic, a conflict that does not have to exist.  It is a conflict perpetuated by Madame Pantsuit and her ilk.  It is concocted by the pointy heads of racial conflict, of class warfare, and of intersex competition.

Instead, love is needed as well as unity of groups and the hope that abides in a normalized unity.  We need to adjust to each other, just as members of a unified family learn to accept each other, warts and all, with a benign and good-humored tolerance or, even, enjoyment of the others' flaws.  Mrs. Pantsuit is not a heroine, nor are others who portray themselves in similar fashion – i.e., as survivors in the bogus struggle to defend the underdogs and exploited.  Fighting so-called inequities is now a form of iniquity.  We need to be neo-Hardingites – strike a healing note, and downplay disunity and the increasing government size that is justified as the cure for that disunity.