I was taught to be good. I was taught to love others, mind my manners, be respectful, and above all . . . stay out of trouble. Of course the later eventually became more about not getting caught than anything else. But even still, I was a good kid.
Yet even during adolescence (which my wife might argue I never completely left behind) it was clear that I would never be the cool kid I wanted to be. I was too satisfied with being good. Too bent on being normal, unlike my peers who seemed determined to push every envelop. I was too much of a conformist to contribute to any kind of real diversity. I was traditional. I was too “goody-goody.” I’m sure to many, I was on my best day simply artificial.
Now, I am older. I carry much more responsibility, and I am glad to accept it. Yet, some things never change. I am still “normal.” Middle class vanilla at its Baskin Robbins best. A wife, three kids, a mortgage, you know the drill. My politics are conservative. I believe in local responsibility, state power, and limited federal government. I believe in prayer in schools, in One Nation Under God (in whom I also believe we still trust). I say “sir” and “ma’am” and mean them with respect. I do not expect anything from anyone except that they do their part.
However, it seems to me that I have become the stereotype. I am the “normal” that constitutes that which others would seek to redefine. While some celebrate diversity as I do, there are others that care little for my way of life, calling it close-minded, antiquated, exclusive, even intolerant. But who will tolerate me? Who will look out for my way of life, my rights, my beliefs?
As a Christian evangelical (I think that’s what they call me know), as a conservative Republican, as an opponent to abortion and a proponent of prayer in schools, I have become the minority who’s rights now need protecting. And there are others like me, who (like me) are not used to having to define and defend what it is for which they stand. For we were once normal.
Now, to be what once was normal is to rebel against pop culture. It is to swim against the current of mainstream media. It is to guard the eyes and ears, the hearts and minds of my children against that which others would call normal, that which I do not.
Strange as it seems, it has become clear to me that normal is the new rebellion.