Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cultural Lesson

Today’s poem was going to be about culture. I attended an ASL workshop today and the instructor talked about how the deaf community has its own culture. Deaf people think of themselves as deaf first and foremost, then the other definers come into play. Hearing people generally think of themselves as male/female, white/black, etc. I thought this was pretty interesting so I decided to look up the definition of culture. I noticed a sidebar with the word of the day - fester. And, that’s where I wound up going. Another example of how a writing prompt can go in a direction you don’t expect to go.

Today’s word is fester.
It seems like an appropriate word for this moment in time,
   for where we are as a country
   for where we are as a culture,
Or rather for where many of our cultures are,
since our country is not acting like one cultural community.

To fester,
To become worse as time passes.
That is the new culture of the United States,
Or at least
that is my impression of
what is going on in our country right now.

Politics aside,
our differences are becoming bigger and stronger
   fueled by fear
   and the ability of a few 
      to capitalize on the hatred caused by fear
   to ignore or manipulate facts.
Our ability to rationally discuss personal feelings about issues
   is getting worse.
Our divide is expanding,
   fueled by this clever use of fear
   often based on bastardized versions of religion.

A nation dividing itself
States united only by
   flames being fanned by hypocrisy.

The festering is burning a hole
   in the soul of our nation.
And God has nothing to do with that.
He/She has done all he/she can.
Now it is up to us
   to see what we have become,
   realize what we have done to ourselves,
And figure out how to stop this downward slide
and begin to heal the wounds.

To fester,
as in
to putrify or rot,
progressive deterioration.
To fester
is to cause increasing poisoning, irritation, bitterness.
Does any of this sound familiar?

I love our country.
But I don’t love living in a country full of people
   and politicians
content to fester
and not willing to admit fault
or work on a solution to the worsening chasm as time passes.

Our children deserve better
than what we are leaving them.