Woe be to a society who responds favorably to a leader who uses sentences like these to campaign after 6 years of an abysmal track record. “It’s what we’re selling”. “Hope is a better choice,” he said. A better choice than what a rational person might contemplate. A better choice than cynicism? Not always I submit. Sit for a few minutes in Starbucks, your car or the woods and ask yourself. Is hope a better choice…is that what you want to buy?
I could hope that the government and the community knows what is right for my children a la Melissa Harris-Perry. When the school personnel, “experts” that they are, recommend that we have our sons evaluated because they’re desire to act is grabbing their attention more than mathematics. We could hope that they are making the decision that is best for those boys. We could trust them and hope that they were right even though our internal compasses were pointing in a different direction. And when the evaluation comes back and recommends pharmaceuticals we could hope that the fact that this approach has weighed heavily in the majority of school shootings is an anomaly and give drugs to our boys by the millions everyday. Hoping that though we are sending them the message that they are not alright somehow that in the end this is what is best for them.
When I see a man approaching my daughter and my hackles rise, I could hope that all will be fine. I could have the audacity to hope that even though every fiber of my being is screaming DANGER, urging me to intercede and tell this man to step off, that society is right and my knowing is really racism in disguise. I could listen to the zeitgeist and not intercede because it must be some aspect of me that is not evolved. After all the man is mixed race so if I say anything it is some hidden seed of racism arising…right? I must hope that they are right and my internal compass is again wrong.
When I am alone in my house and I hear the sound of breaking glass and then footsteps on the floor below me I could hope that the police will be able to arrive in time to save me. Which amounts to me hoping that whoever has entered my house through questionable means at night will do me no harm in the national average of 11 minutes it takes the police to arrive on the scene.
I know very few men who would buy hope. Sure they gamble. But that is something altogether different. When men buy things it is usually a means to their own ends. A tool that will help them en-ACT their vision. It is not a hope that the new bike will assemble itself it is the screwdriver so they can assemble the bike themselves.
Women may hope at the beginning of maturity. But as time progresses and children are born many of us become more like the state of Missouri. “Show Me” what you can do sir. Promises of a life filled with ________ (insert the woman in questions desire here) are great but if even a few years go by with nothing but promises those same women who responded to hope respond more virulently to the lack of production…hope is not always a better choice.
I see this energy dynamic beautifully illustrated in my family quite frequently. I am 5’8” tall, 135 lbs, and while I am closer to 50 than 40 I am still quite muscled. I have sailed halfway across the Pacific Ocean with an infant strapped to my chest, defended myself in a gnarly situation in Mexico involving an incredibly drunken man and a knife and, driven my vehicle towing a 32 foot airstream with 2 teenagers in the car across the country … 3 times. I have demonstrated a proven ability and willingness to ACT in this world. My daughter, however, still refuses to do certain things without her father around. Because, while I am physically capable he is more so. And since her birth she has seen me in the role of nurturer and comforter more than adventurer and rescuer. Also, he is simply stronger than me. When we are rafting a particularly difficult stretch of river or climbing a particularly high mountain pass it is her father she wants there. And she wants him there because he is the one that will carry her out. He is the one who will swim towards the shark, run into the burning building or throw himself on the grenade…of these statements I have no doubt and neither does she. Because while she has heard stories of my bravery, since she was alive, she has seen examples of his. And the action speaks louder than the hope.
When we do cling to hope what exactly is it that we are clinging to? It is not the knowing that all is as it should be. That is something altogether different than hope. It is Truth with a capital T. It is the Silence. The unchanging Eternal. And when we walk as this Truth their is no clinging. So when we need to cling is it to the abstract promises of hope or examples of what we desire, examples we have seen, that we are really clinging to? It is the example. The hope that the fireman will rescue the child from the burning building is in our consciousness as a picture, as the ACT that we have seen.
Action and the men and women who perform them have been traded for ideas, beliefs and hopes lately. We have leaders telling successful men that it is not by their hand that they are successful. We have the future man’s men being drugged everyday because they cannot sit still during an english lit. lecture. And even when someone uses reason to demonstrate that the actions of ideologues with one size fits all beliefs have created anything but hope historically we are pooh poohed as cynics. Woe be to us if we continue upon this road. The lesson will be a tough one.