Saturday, September 23, 2017

all is not lost

"There is great danger in these times. And yet, all is not lost. The future remains unwritten, ours to shape - though it will not be easy. Institutional power has been hijacked by a crew of corrupt, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, blithely incompetent leaders bent on dismantling the very hallmark of this nation's democracy. We need to be in a sustained and continuous state of resistance, for as long as it takes, in order to protect our collective rights and the future of the planet. This is hard work. One could easily become exhausted, or paralyzed by despair. That is where this book comes in." - Radical Hope

This weekend I read Radical Hope: Letters Of Love And Dissent In Dangerous Times edited by Carolina De Roberts. It is a collection of individual letters written by some of our favorite authors. It is a reminder to stay engaged in what is good and true and kind.

This book was in a list of titles I saw recommended for young adults trying to make sense of our current political landscape. While there is much to despair, it is essentially a book about hope. By knowing our past, by being connected to our present day communities, and by looking to future inheritors of what happens now - we can create a better world.

From Junot Díaz's letter:
But all the fighting in the world will not help us if we do not also hope. What I'm trying to cultivate is not blind optimism or inane positivity but what the philosopher  Jonathan Lear calls radical hope. "What makes this hope radical," Lear writes, "is that it is directed toward a future goodness that transcends the current ability to understand what it is." Radical hope is not so much something you have but something you practice; it demands flexibility, openness, and what Lear describes as "imaginative excellence." Radical hope is our best weapon against despair, even when despair seems justifiable; it makes survival of the end of your world possible. Only radical hope could have imagined people like us into existence. And I believe that it will help us create a better, more loving future. 
And in Aya De León's letter to millennials:
We older generations haven't built the world you deserve. We wish we had, but we haven't. We often fall back on criticizing you when you make different choices about how to navigate the world's imperfections. So on behalf of older adults who have lectured when we should have listened, and dictated when we should have disclosed, I want to offer an apology. We did our best, but you deserve better. Can you forgive us? I know we've broken our promises. We didn't mean to hurt you. We weren't really lying because, crazy as it sounds now, we believed it at the time.
Jeff Chang writes:
As we face the new day, we must remind ourselves: We are not alone. We are not marginal. We are the majority. We are ready. And we will not stay silent.

In Claire Messud's letter to her daughter:
... my dearest daughter, it's up to us - and in the future, it will be up to you - to defend substance, to forge a true path, and a meaningful one. To be fearless, joyful, hopeful. Privileged as we are, we have an obligation to be happy, to work for justice, openness, and generosity whenever possible; to listen fully to complexities and to try our best to understand; to hold the lamp illumined and aloft. No good gesture is wasted. No kindness is otiose. No sacrifice is too great. Each of us must shed light wherever we can.