Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Hope and Change (August 2011)

The debt ceiling hostage situation was pretty depressing, and predictably, Republicans are crowing about taking hostages again in the future. I'll write more on all that in the future (not as if there's a shortage of good posts out there on the subject). In the meantime, I thought actual hope and change would be kinda welcome.

TomDispatch has an essay by Rebecca Solnit called "Hope: The Care and Feeding Of ":

Recently, Nelson Mandela turned 93, and his nation celebrated noisily, even attempting to break the world record for the most people simultaneously singing “Happy Birthday.” This was the man who, on trial by the South African government in 1964, stood a good chance of being sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead. Given life in prison instead, he was supposed to be silenced. Story over...

Everything changes. Sometimes you have to change it yourself.

Unpredictability is grounds for hope, though please don’t mistake hope for optimism. Optimism and pessimism are siblings in their certainty. They believe they know what will happen next, with one slight difference: optimists expect everything to turn out nicely without any effort being expended toward that goal. Pessimists assume that we’re doomed and there’s nothing to do about it except try to infect everyone else with despair while there’s still time.

Hope, on the other hand, is based on uncertainty, on the much more realistic premise that we don’t know what will happen next. The next thing up might be as terrible as a giant tsunami smashing 100 miles of coastal communities or as marvelous as a new species of butterfly being discovered (as happened recently in Northern Ireland). When it comes to the worst we face, nature itself has resilience, surprises, and unpredictabilities. But the real territory for hope isn’t nature; it’s the possibilities we possess for acting, changing, mattering -- including when it comes to nature.

There's far more at the link.

Meanwhile, Balloon Juice has been active raising money for the Wisconsin recall elections, which are occuring next Tuesday. Give credit to Wisconsin citizens; too many of them made some dumb votes last November, but a sizable portion realized they'd be lied to, and they've mobilized to try to throw out some of the Republican state politicians who engineered the current right-wing, Koch-funded agenda.

Progress generally isn't achieved solely from a top-down approach. Even when good leaders are in charge, they need conscientious activists to keep them honest. When the leaders are corrupt, or feckless, the need for a strong progressive movement is all the more crucial. This latest massive turd from the fools and scoundrels in Washington is not cause for optimism, but the inspiring grassroots efforts in Wisconsin and elsewhere are cause for hope.

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