COVID-19; The Death Knell of ‘Normality’

Teachers scrambling to give students work, long anticipated events cancelled, and a general growing feeling of anxiety was the hallmark of March. The pandemic that still holds America down today, and little has changed. I, like many others, underestimated the immense change that was soon to come about. 

By the time of what would be our summer vacation anxiety turned to angst. All people have been hurt in one way or another by COVID-19, and thus a nostalgia is invented for what we consider normality. But normality is no more, and COVID-19 is its death knell. 

The normality of generation Z is now just a fond memory that holds no ground in current reality. By the time the coronavirus passes our generation will have grown, and if some way our country could return to “normality” it would be alien to us. “Normality” is just a term that encapsulates a general feeling of nostalgia, and the thing about nostalgia is that it tends to wash away the bad and harden the good. 

Politicians champion the idea of going back to pre-pandemic conditions, but is that world worth aiming for?

 “Normality” was a state where thirty million people were uninsured according to a Census Bureau report. “Normality” was a state where seventeen out of every ten thousand Americans were experiencing homelessness according to an article published by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “Normality” is a state where seventy eight percent of workers in the richest country in the world lived paycheck to paycheck according to a Forbes article. Conditions under the pandemic have exacerbated all of these horrid aspects, but let our goal not be to shoot for pre-pandemic conditions.

 Our generation is now joining the adult world, and being a part of it must have a say. Generation Z must be the spearhead of change. We have the ability to make the world a better place. We have the ability to foster growth and positive change. We have the ability to accomplish what our ancestors could or would not. There is only one way Generation Z can go forward and do the impossible, and that is to organize. Without organization no mass movement for mass change is possible. 

The American Revolution was not won by Washington, but by the American people. The power of the Civil Rights Movement did not reside in MLK Jr., but by the masses who followed him. And great change today will not be achieved by those we idolize, but by us. COVID-19 has made the world volatile and susceptible to change. Our opportunity is here, and the only thing we need to do is to make our demands. We must not pass up this once-in-a-generation chance. As former president JFK once said “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

Young people must heed the words of Kennedy and push forwards. Generation Z must learn about the issues, educate themselves about it, and organize with those who share the same goal. Strength comes in numbers and without a large amount of normal everyday people teaming up socioeconomic change will never arrive.  

As the death knell rings the grave of normality is marked by COVID-19, but let us not dig up and embrace a deformed nostalgia with all of its faults and evils. Let us rather plant a seed for change and build a better future for us and for our descendants.