The New Normal

By: Taylor Yess

The Pope came to New York last week and midtown was apparently held at a standstill, which annoyed many a Manhattanite. Politicians jockeyed to have lunch with him and stand near him during photo opps. It all felt a little like a spectacle at times to me.

While the Pope’s physical presence was quite inconsequential to me, there was something hidden in his message that I’ve been holding onto…he is kind of a normal person.

How can this man, this leader of the Catholic religion, be rather normal. And in comparison with American politicians, quite normal.

On September 24th when Pope Francis spoke to the United States Congress, he scolded us and he exemplified what it means to lead a population. I’m not saying I agree with everything he said, but I think he characterizes something that is hard to find in our political system, a real representative.

While our media is picking him apart from both sides, calling him too conservative or too liberal, I think we are missing the point.

There is something in between.

In my opinion, Pope Francis had the difficult position of needing to modernize the Catholic Church. In order to stay relevant, they had to evolve. He had to begin looking at science and accepting global warming while holding on to the tenants of the religion. It’s not easy, but he is bringing the Catholic Church into the 21st century by listening and adapting to the sentiments of his population while our politicians seem to be taking us a step back in time through division.

There is a lot of fear mongering happening in our system right now, but what I am most of afraid of is the duality. We can no longer talk to our neighbors, friends, and coworkers about politics because it’s too loaded. People, normal people, are nuanced. They have interests and values and goals that differentiate them from the next Joe, those are what should be celebrated, represented, and publicized.

And on the eve of another government shutdown, I have to wonder, who is winning?