By Linda Margison
Webster defines “deteriorate” in the following two ways: “to become worse or of less value” and “to lower in character, dignity, or quality.” I can’t help but connect those definitions to the current state of our world, a place where progress, civility, acceptance, and hope caught a foothold and started to rise, but then was ambushed by an arrogant, racist, misogynistic, and greedy sect that hoisted its king and slid on its hood, rolling back unity and harmony in the name of patriotism, gun rights, and a bastardized view of religion.
The more we instruct children to avoid being killed instead of telling gunmen not to kill, or the more we tell women to dress differently or learn to defend themselves, rather than telling men not to rape, we facilitate the deterioration of humanity.
With each blatant lie, each arrogant rant or rage, each atrocious rule that jeopardizes marginalized people, and every child pulled from a parent’s arms, I lose hope that we will ever recover from such wickedness. Did people not read classic literature in high school? Did no one read “1984” or “Lord of the Flies” or “Animal Farm”? Does no one think of consequences?
The more words I type, the more I deteriorate.
But I can choose to turn that around. I can spin “deteriorate” on its axis. We all can.
We can square our shoulders, move forward, and not deteriorate. We can build. We can show honor and dignity and respect. We can clarify and purify and refine and restore. We can elevate and uplift.
If enough of us refuse to accept deterioration as the norm, maybe we can regain what we have lost.
Maybe we can heal.