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Why Hope Has Power in This Gut-Wrenching Election Year


Why Hope Has Power in This Gut-Wrenching Election Year

Frances Moore Lappé, Adam Eichen

Hope about American politics is hard to come by.


It is unclear to me how hope can make any sense without some healthy fear. Until I learned to hold both hope and fear in my mind and whole being, in close combat, I was unable to completely hold either panic or despair at bay. The latter self-realization forced the necessity to balance the known fear with the specific hope. When I hold these in healthy tension, this tension becomes the creative force that prevents me from accepting my own mealy-mouthing through non-clarity as if I somehow magically resolved an unclear difficulty. Emergency situations clarify such things.

Here is such an unresolved difficulty, presented as one of the article's points of hope we can embrace: "Democratic Party leadership agreed on a platform with strong positions on money in politics, endorsing public financing of elections as well as other critical reforms. The platform reflects core demands that Democracy Spring marchers called for in April while marching from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C."

The absence of any specific details is the telling absence of any commitment from the party to do anything, and the absence from the party to even pretend it might try doing something about Wall Street's control over the party's legislation-writing, policy-making, and regulatory non-enforcement.

That is nothing to either fear or hope for. It is business as usual.

It does not deserve any self-respecting citizen's vote of support.

The only thing such a vote can be supporting is one's Wall Street investments. No doubt, many confuse hope for democracy with hope for a retirement fund, or a growing stock portfolio built upon endless war-spending, etc. But that is self-delusion. Unclear statements, statements with no substantive details of commitment, offer little, if any hope; instead, they foster such self-delusions parading as hope.

That borders upon, if it doesn't rapidly sink into cynicism. And US political culture is rapidly approaching the emergent moment where the vast majority of stock holders will face a wicked predicament: the realization that their stock investments undermine the civil order that protects their stock investments.

Who/what will clarify this moment as it emerges? Our children's survival depends upon our getting this clear before there is too little civil order for it to matter. The Democratic Party obviously banks - with Wall Street's Too Big to Govern Banks - upon us not getting it clear. Thus the urgency to stall the entire removal of the anti-democratic super delegate cults.

The Democratic Party has no more clarity for the issue than does the GOP.


I write this morning from that place of "utter disillusionment of people across the political spectrum who feel shut out of a political system dominated by wealthy, special interests."

From Lappe and by extension Zinn, I can take this sort of rah rah stuff because both have done the long haul and for me, are an inspiration. That's what it's gonna take.


If you click the link provide in the article to the Democratic platform, there are plenty of specifics on the issue of democracy reform. It's an incredibly strong plan.


Perhaps this will help you and your business as usual Wall Street D Party pals see the light instead of continuing to embrace the degeneracy of your business as usual:



Thank you to the writers, and to CD for republishing. No, we don't have a perfect system. Yes, we need to keep holding hope in tension with our fears, as @WalterJSmith asserts. The writers do not claim that hope can stand alone. In fact, they say quite clearly that hope is not about answers, but about that very tension, about questioning whether there isn't a way to make it better. Most of all, hope is not resignation, and it is not only about my own portfolio. Hope is what lets even those who've never had investment portfolios get up in the morning, kiss their children off to school, and go to work.


Well said.


"Hope" is a banal emotional cue used to convince us to vote for Hillary when no sound reasoning for it can be found.


I hope neither Clinton or Trump is elected.

So I'm resetting my hopes dashed timer from yesterday to early November.


Please speak for yourself. Certainly don't assume what "it ... did for Sanders himself." You do not speak for me, with either your rage or as to apathy. You don't seem to understand this article, or Bernie's revolution, at all.


You weren't listening if that's what you heard. But I think this exchange is for some other thread.


Hoping is wishing--passive clinging to a belief, that everything will be well, contrary to what the author (who I respect tremendously) claims. Clinging to hope is like clinging to anything--we find it's fickle, or destructive, or both. Clinging to hope to prevent despair makes the 2 just opposite sides of the same coin, and one can fasten one's hopes to various outcomes and flip over and over from one to the other depending on what happens to happen.

Far better is to develop a practice to see and accept reality, to clear the mind and body of the need to hang onto hope, despair, fear, anger, shame, guilt, desire, and other distractions. Feel those things, sure, but then let them go, like the patterns of thoughts that come to you while you're sitting and doing nothing.

(Do you ever do nothing? That is, after all, the practice. First find someone you can trust--good psychotherapist or wise teacher of Buddhism or another lineage experienced with the radical effects of doing nothing. Then turn the screens off and do it--do nothing, that is.)

Don't hope. Accept reality and do what's needed. The practice of doing nothing--in limited ways and at limited times--will free you to do something, and the something you do will be connected to reality and so much more useful to you and the world than if you never did nothing.

The West has deceived itself--aka us--for millennia with hope. And the effect has been to not just allow but enable and encourage the degradation of humanity and the rest of nature to continue, and accelerate. But if you don't want to delve into the works of those who have made a 2500-year-plus practice out of dealing with hope you can read Derrick Jensen and Rebecca Solnit on the subject and get a touch more wisdom.

and other TomDispatches


“It is unpleasant to talk like this. People don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to believe it. They bring to bear an enormous range of psychological and behavioral defense mechanisms to avoid it. It sounds “extreme” and our instinctive heuristics conflate “extreme” with “wrong.” People display the same kind of avoidance when they find out that they or a loved one are seriously ill. But no doctor would counsel withholding a diagnosis from a patient because it might upset them. If we’re in this much trouble, surely we must begin by telling the truth about it.” David Roberts http://grist.org/climate-change/2011-12-05-the-brutal-logic-of-climate-change/


Just the title and that meme word 'hope' keeps me from even reading this article. Hope has been buried with Bernie, get use to it. Now let's get off our butts and create our own reality. This government is a bunch of puppets dancing on the strings of a plutocratic oligarchy. Respect is a word we should take on; respect for our country and ourselves. Do you respect the US?? Just answer that question for yourself. I am a natural born American citizen, Vietnam Vet (my bad) and 71 years of age, grew up in the South and shook off my ingrained bigotry once I got out of that culture and I am so angry and ashamed at where my country is that it is hard to type my hands are shaking so bad. We are a joke in the world's eyes. No, I take that back. We are feared in the world's eyes because our government is insane. You think they envy our freedom? I got a plot of Florida swamp for you. But you better envy it because you are losing more of it every year, every Administration. You want to see the Cold War back? Just vote Hillary. Have to run now.


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Joanna Macy coined it: Active Hope....it isn't something given to you...and just sitting on a couch doesn't make it appear. You have get up and do something positive about what concerns you not just sit at the computer and bitch. And for those of us whose bodies may not be so active...we can write on blogs or LTEs.

First of all anyone who reads more than a menu knows that global warming is very bad and getting worse and that we aren't sure when that last tipping point is, but the most optimistic outlook gives us only 10 years. We might have passed it already...hard to tell. Now that is a heavy heavy weight ...but it can be eased if you join a climate activist group etc.
grand-kids are to have a chance.

And then...the politics that keep us from addressing most issues...well turns out its not the politics...its the money of all those industries bribing our legislators. They just use politics to hide behind while they work for the predators.

What can we do? Two major things.
1) get the damn money out of politics and campaigns. and
2) go to ranked choice voting so we don't need to keep voting for the lesser of the evils out of fear.


No burial for Bernie. He's headed right back to the Senate and his seat in the aisle, ready to remind the Dems of their promises and all of the Senators (and executive) of their obligations to serve the common good. That's the ground of hope.


What makes you think I don't and haven't lived in several of those categories, don't work with them, study their lives, work to enact what I hope for? If it was my use of the phrase "my portfolio," that was rhetorical reference to @WalterJSmith's post. I once, briefly, had a 401K, which I had to empty to pay taxes, paying "substantial penalties." Mostly I've lived paycheck to paycheck, but I've lived a rich life in more of the ways that matter. I know what a difference real, living hope makes.


Assuming by the tirade that follows you mean Sec'y Clinton, I have not once remotely "endorsed" her. Let's stick to this topic instead of dismissing people by association, especially when that association is erroneous.

And actually, my own experience should have nothing to do with the value of my expressed ideas.


My point being that we need to continue to work for a better world, that effort being key. The mission is the same but the times can dictate the way that mission is carried out.

I get your passion though Carol. I've been around myself a while and feel, as I said above, often "disillusioned."

My great affection for life itself buoys me on as well as those who have, by many means including taking to the streets, given of themselves for a better world.


A PR agency has but one motivation: getting paid. You can't live long in that business if you have people you won't work for. I've been there, and been told how silly and naive my principles were.

We need to create forums for reasoned conversation

Such as this one here? Then let's converse reasonably.

and organization beyond parties.

Now you're talking! But the new organization, supported by the Internet, can be ad hoc and shifting, taking advantage of each participant's strengths, interests, and availability. Let's get to work on that instead of beating each other up.