Ain't Like It Used To Be

It wasn’t fast. No one overthrew the government and made a bunch of crazy laws. It crept in slowly, testing the waters, trying things out, tentatively stepping, looking for solid ground to stand on.

First, it was okay to be better in some way than someone else. ‘At least I have a nice new thing.’

Then it became a thirst for the next new thing, justified by giving the best to our kids. ‘They deserve to have more than I had growing up.’

All of this was mixed with an unsettling bit of philosophy. ‘What if things go down differently? Every man for himself.’

People took to the darkness, fulfilling their needs nefariously. Others watched vigilantly to tattle and fight back. Some fulfilled the roles the others imagined. ‘If they think I am that person, then I must be.’

Sideways glances, rumors, talks behind neighbor’s backs and fake smiles birthed distrust and accusations in once-safe places. ‘Stay inside children, it’s not safe to go out where Momma can’t see you.’

Caring, sharing, hope, dwindled, died.

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