As 2017 begins, I question the word “worst.” Politically speaking, some say President Obama was the worst thing to have happened to the US, while others say president-elect Trump is the worst event in the history of the nation. The US is still a young country at 240 years old, still, to say something is the worst is to say a lot.
To say worst means worse than the forced internment of over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Worst means worse than the Indian Reparations act of 1851 to “control” the native American Population because the “settlers” were growing uneasy. Worst means worse than the US eugenics model of forced sterilization that started in the 1890s that continued until the 1970s. Worst means worse than the enslavement of 12.5 million Africans. Worst means worse than the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to prevent the immigration of Chinese which lasted until repealed by the Magnuson Act on December 17, 1943. Worst means worse than then the 620,000 deaths during the civil war. Worst means worse than the Oklahoma bombing, the Alabama Church bombing or the mass shooting in a South Carolina church?
This week that saw the passing of George Michael, Carrie Fisher, Debbi Reynolds and Richard Adams. There was a Facebook post referencing people losing their minds over deaths of the famous compared to reactions of the daily loss of lives in Aleppo. It gave me pause for a moment, until I realized, we are most impacted by what touches our lives. Yes, people are “losing our minds over” those who have touched their lives, and been a part of their history. We react when we are impacted, when something alters the context of our lives.
So, in retrospect, what a blessing for some to be untouched by a history of discrimination, atrocities and injustice that they can feel the outgoing President or the incoming President is the worst thing to happen to the country. That is not a judgment, but a perspective around the use of the superlative worst. That’s not to say things are either good or bad or things can’t get worse. However, once you believe something to be true, you shape your world view to support it. “Worst” is a cautionary tale of beliefs. As 2017 starts, consider beliefs.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
Stay woke. What’s your belief for 2017? What’s your destiny?