I have a 2232 dual homed to 2 5548's via a port-channel/vpc
I have one 5548A and configure the port for the 2232 with a vlan, plug into that port and it doesnt come up (inactive). I go to 5548b (Primary) and configure the port and it comes up. Is this considered normal?
That is normal and correct for FEX that are dual homed. The exact same configuration must be applied on both upstream Nexus 5K for the port to become operational.
One option to simplfy this is to use config sync feature, but I've had bad experiences with this feature on NX-OS 5.1 on the Nexus 5K so would recommend you test thoroughly before considering deployment.