Joe Biden and Illusions of “Normalcy”

Source: Common Dreams
by Andrew Bacevich

“In a provocative recent essay in the New York Times, the political historian Jon Grinspan places the distemper currently afflicting American politics in a broader context. In essence, he contends that we’ve been here before. Grinspan describes the period from the 1860s to 1900 as ‘an age of acrimony,’ with the nation as a whole ’embroiled in a generation-long, culturewide war over democracy.’ Today, we find ourselves well into round two of that very war. But Grinspan urges his fellow citizens not to give up hope. A return to normalcy (boring perhaps, but tolerable) might well be right around the corner. Mark me down as skeptical. Party politics during the decades following the Civil War were notably raucous and contentious, Grinspan writes, with Election Day turnout ‘higher than in any other period in American history.’ Yet, despite all the commotion, not a lot got done.” (11/15/21)