If the internet is good for anything, it’s for sharing what each of us beholds and believes. And so today, as we have entered what many call The Season of Hope, I am inviting you to use this medium that way to help me replenish the supply of hope that I (and perhaps others) have found at a low ebb lately. Specifically, should you finish reading this piece, I ask that you contribute your own hopeful thoughts via whatever means is afforded for comments/feedback on the medium on which you’re reading it.
I normally live with a robust quotient of hope—my roughhewn definition of hope being “something one can imagine as desirable that is not currently present and not necessarily predictable but seems nevertheless plausible if only somehow, somewhere, somebody…”
We have all harbored hopes over and over again in our lives. Some were dashed rudely. Some just faded away. And some actually came to fruition. In a lifetime chockablock full of blessings of every imaginable sort, I have learned that hope sustains motivation, and that sustained motivation reciprocally has something to do with seeing hopes become realities.
But today I’m struggling. Every single day I witness one more degradation of the democratic values I grew up with and have always assumed were impregnable. Every day I see one more official act that is actually—not seemingly—the same as acts that are routine today in despotic countries and banana republics. I see acts that were routine in the transformation of “normal” countries like Germany into countries capable of unspeakable behavior that the vast majority of citizens certainly never imagined possible under their flag and in their name. I see the very purpose of truth not only ignored but cunningly corrupted. I don’t even have to be specific. You know what I’m talking about.
I hit low bottom yesterday morning watching the President of the United States of America lie, and lie some more, and then lie some more. (I’m not the arbiter of whether these were lies; fine independent minds with abundant research capabilities document this stuff.) I began talking back to him on the screen. He continued lying, and so I began yelling at him. As he carried on, I finally devolved into screaming at him the most vulgar obscenities that I have accumulated over a very long lifetime—most of which have not escaped my lips since junior high school or, perhaps, boot camp at Fort Ord.
My longsuffering wife Patti witnessed her beloved husband’s disintegration and picked up the remote control for the TV. She switched it to HGTV where some gentle people were artfully remodeling their house. I lapsed into silence and, eventually, into something close to numbness.
Now you know why I am sending out this SOS. Every day there is a new “last straw” (how about yesterday’s viral YouTube of a witless nominee to the Federal bench whose ignorance has instantly become the laughingstock of America—but not a laughing matter since hordes of equally unqualified persons have already passed muster out of our sight).
Mind you, I haven’t given up. For starters, I’m going to dry up my rancid tank of despair. No more TV for a few weeks, as we celebrate the holidays with family here in Princeton and then head for some time at our farmstead in Maine where we’ll go incommunicado for a while. Once Patti certifies me safe to return to engagement with the world, we’ll return so I can start working my butt off to produce some positive change in November, 2018. With any luck, you’ll have offered up some signs of hope that will turbocharge my motivation.
Please just hit the “Comment” button and let me know that it’s going to be okay because…because…well, because you are seeing something I’m not. My hunch is that others will receive your thoughts as a gift as well.