We're hearing a lot about hope these days. It's an irresistible word, yielding much in the way of good feelings but requiring little specificity or accountability. This, of course, is why politicians love it. For who could possibly be against hope? We want our children to feel it as they consider their future. It pains us when unpleasant reality forces us to share harsh truths that may have the effect of dashing youthful hope and idealism.
Sometimes, though, we have to do it. We have to be honest with our children about the fallen condition of the world in which they live. Perhaps it seems cruel and unfair.
But what I think is more cruel and unfair is to create and nourish false hope, as so many are doing today by buying into and propagating the lie that one man can singlehandedly wipe the slate clean and create an environment in which understanding reigns supreme and all problems can be solved if we just put our minds to it. I know all politicians engage in such rhetoric to some extent, but in my lifetime I have never seen so many people hang so much on one individual. It's as though at noon tomorrow we are all going to find ourselves in a brand new reality, one defined by hope. But here's a rather "inconvenient truth": feeling hopeful doesn't accomplish much. We have some big, big problems in this country. Human nature is such that we will never solve them all. As we try to address them, there will be differences of opinion, and it is not unreasonable or partisan to air those differences.
As much as we might like to, we can't promise our children a world in which hoping for something equals achieving or receiving it. But wouldn't it be nice if we could give them a world that at least promises them the chance to hope and to dream and to pursue all that it means to be human?
Mr. Obama, you were given that chance. Shouldn't everyone?
HT: Pastor Esget