Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope, Change, Inauguration

I didn't watch the inauguration today. After the election I was pretty tired of politics and I haven't watched much politics at all. That is not the reason that I didn't watch the inauguration today though - I was busy working on stuff for school. But I still have an opinion:
I am glad for the optimism that so many people feel with this transition. We live in a time when it is very easy to feel pessimism; it feels like the whole economy is going to pieces and every time it seems like it can't get any worse we are proven wrong.
Hope is not a material change, it is much more spiritual. You can't feed yourself on hope but it is nevertheless the fuel of just about every accomplishment. It combines with faith in a very practical manner to make real advances and bring to pass real change. Hope is good.
There is another side to hope that is harder to deal with though. I refer to the side that is the disillusionment, the loss of patience, and the hopelessness. These come when seeds sown in hope hope fail to bear fruit. This is my great fear, and it is part of the reason I turned the news off after November 4. I fear that so many people - most of whom are good people that I can agree with in many ways - have invested so much in the rhetoric of hope and that if the real changes don't live up to expectations, to the hoped for changes... Well, I fear that there could be a collective disappointment that, when combined with the hard times that we are already facing, could lead us into a pit that this country has never seen the likes of.
Here is part of something that I wrote in November of 2007. I still have it on my end of the blog but it is one of about 200 posts that I made private:
I think that the key to happiness is the complete relinquishment of all expectations.
... Expectations are what make disappointment possible. Expectations are what make
family relationships more challenging than the run of the mill relationships
that we have with strangers with whom we have no expectations. If we give up all
expectations, what is left? Then we take things as they come, whatever they are....

And yet I am hopeful.

But unassuming.

I would add to that quoted piece that we are left with a lot of emptiness and mediocrity when we give up hope and expectations. I don't want that.


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