It is called a norm

Malta Independent - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS -

michael.as­ciak@par­la­ment.mt

Ihad an inkling of what might hap­pen when vis­it­ing rel­a­tives in the USA and Canada last sum­mer, many of whom pointed out the wide sup­port that he en­joyed in the coun­try and the small towns as op­posed to the cities.

This was par­tic­u­larly so in the mid-western states, of which many of us have very lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­po­sure to. There could be many rea­sons for this un­ex­pected vic­tory but there is one which I call the norm, a rule; a rule that peo­ple of­ten give one politi­cian or par­tic­u­lar party up to two elec­toral man­dates, very rarely more!

Now this is not a hard and fast rule; it is a gen­eral rule that even in the best of cir­cum­stances peo­ple of­ten want a change af­ter two terms. There are ex­cep­tions to this of course, even in the USA. Franklin D. Roo­sevelt, who my great aunt in New York was ever so iron­i­cally fond of, was elected for a whop­ping four man­dates, while Jimmy Carter was only a one-term Pres­i­dent, but hav­ing said ev­ery­thing, there is this norm!

Many years ago I was di­ag­nosed with a con­di­tion called asthma which was vis­ited on me rather sud­denly, and though peo­ple tried to con­sole me with the fact that many oth­ers had the same con­di­tion and that it was per­fectly treat­able, it was nonethe­less not the norm.

Now other con­di­tions are knock­ing at my door, con­di­tions that though quite com­mon, are not the norm ei­ther, as the great ma­jor­ity of peo­ple do not have th­ese con­di­tions. Just as there are phys­i­cal hu­man con­di­tions, there are emo­tional ones such as anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion and there are also con­di­tions that af­fect hu­man sex­u­al­ity.

All of th­ese con­di­tions are not the fault of the in­di­vid­ual on whom they are foisted, whether the cause is ge­netic or nur­tu­ral (epi­ge­netic). Na­ture is un­tidy and lets us shoul­der sev­eral of th­ese un­tidy con­di­tions. Nev­er­the­less one treats peo­ple with all th­ese un­tidy con­di­tions with all the care and love that ex­ists and one in­cludes them in the life of so­ci­ety as much as is rea­son­ably pos­si­ble; af­ter all no­body is at fault here and ev­ery­body should be treated with the re­spect due to the dig­nity of a hu­man be­ing.

We are all born with is­sues that are out­side the norm, nonethe­less we are all hu­man be­ings, all chil­dren of the uni­verse (or God, as you wish). Much as I wanted to do sub­aqua div­ing, I had to aban­don the idea be­cause of my con­di­tion. It did not fit the norms re­quired for the sport as there was a re­quired rule!

I un­der­stand the great stress un­der­gone by in­di­vid­ual hu­mans with sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion is­sues of what­ever colour. I meet them ev­ery day at work and I ad­mire a so­ci­ety that al­lows the in­te­gra­tion of th­ese in­di­vid­u­als with tol­er­ance and re­spect. Like all peo­ple with par­tic­u­lar con­di­tions, they should all be sup­ported and their life choices re­spected as they strug­gle to un­der­stand what the uni­verse (or God, as you wish) re­quires of them. There is how­ever a norm, the ex­cep­tions to which prove the rule.

Man and women have al­ways ex­isted as a sep­a­rate gen­der, still ex­ist and will con­tinue to ex­ist. The univer­sal norm in the world is a gen­der-based one. Noth­ing that we say or do will change this norm, even if we pre­tend that it does not ex­ist.

It would be folly to think that one can freely choose his or her gen­der at will, be­cause the norm is es­tab­lished. One can help in­di­vid­u­als come to terms with is­sues and help them in­te­grate un­ob­tru­sively into so­ci­ety through cor­rec­tive mea­sures or drugs; one re­spects the space th­ese peo­ple oc­cupy but gen­der it­self is not a choice we can make.

I say this be­cause one of the big­gest dan­gers to so­ci­ety at present is that some are try­ing to pre­tend that gen­der does not ex­ist and is a free choice of in­di­vid­u­als ac­cord­ing to sim­ple emo­tions. One of so­ci­ety’s big­gest falls would oc­cur if it ac­cepts this so-called gen­der the­ory, be­cause it turns on its head what is so man­i­festly ev­i­dent to ev­ery­one. There is a gen­der dif­fer­ence in hu­man so­ci­ety and it is the norm!

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