Saturday, February 02, 2008

Afraid to Hope

After watching the video of "Yes, We Can", posted on a couple of UU blogs today (thank you, Jess and Adam), I came to the startling realization that I am afraid to hope, in this election. I would never have thought of myself as a person who is afraid to hope. I see hopefulness all around me; I say yes to people who want to try new things; I anticipate spring; I think of myself as a hopeful person.

But when I watched the video and wanted with all my heart to buy into the dream that is Barack Obama as President of the United States, I realized that what was holding me back is the fear that the dream will be destroyed.

I am a person who, in my lifetime, has experienced the physical assassination of John Kennedy, of Robert Kennedy, of Martin Luther King, Jr., of Malcolm X, and the political assassination of countless others who dared to put themselves out there for change.

I have seen with my own eyes the murderous acts of political thugs, whether they used bullets or bullet points to end lives. I do not want that to happen to Barack Obama as it has happened to so many others. I do not want his body riddled with bullets or his character torn to shreds by gossipy accusations.

Hillary Clinton is a walking wounded woman; she has been the target of so much anger and accusation that she has developed a skin thicker than a rhinoceros, a characteristic that her enemies can and do attack. If she wins the election, she will govern with that thick skin and we will see the effect of cruel treatment borne out in her presidency, for good or for ill.

If Barack Obama wins the election, what will happen? Will the dream come to fruition? Or will it die a violent death, either at the hands of an enemy armed with a weapon or at the words of an enemy armed with an accusation? I am afraid to hope for the best after all that has happened.

And yet, in him I see the idealism and courage that seemed to die with my dead heroes, Jack, Bobby, Martin, Malcolm. Can it be that their spirits have come back to invigorate a young man's quest for a dream for America, a dream that held such promise years ago?

I need you young people to give me hope, to help me see that, even though there are no guarantees that the dream won't die, the promise is enough to go on, that whatever change comes because of this election, hope won't die. You are our future. I am counting on you to choose a future that I can't envision, a future of freedom and integrity in this nation. Help me. Please.


Jess said...

Yes, we can. ;-)

Mile High Pixie said...

Hell, yeah, Rev. Kit! I too find Obama inspiring and very possibly a good president. Though I have zero problem with a woman president, I think you've hit on what I'm not keen on in her--the baggage of the slings and arrows of her career seem to only serve to make her harder, faker. Obama's "lack of experience" is actually a crapton of experience in the nonprofit sector--the very place where our nation does so much good.

Indeed, as cynical as I am, I find myself hoping, daring to hope, that we as a nation are not screwed, that we as a nation can actually hang out and talk about what we *do* agree on and find ways to build on that, to quit caring about "whose side who is on" and realize everyone's on the same side, ultimately. I'm heartened and encouraged.

Comrade Kevin said...

Indeed. We have become such a cynical people but we want to believe in the change he proposes.

Underneath that cynical exterior is a secret optimistic inside each of us who believes in the idealistic dreams that were present not just in the 1960s, but in the attitudes of our Founding Fathers. The social experiment that was the United States of America will survive but it must reform with the times, and that is why I am supporting Obama. That is why I will be voting for him on Tuesday.

Terri Dennehy Pahucki said...

Ms. Kitty-- Thank you so much for this post! I was just about to post this video which a friend sent me, when I discovered that many UUBloggers already have (I will still post, of course.)

I have hope. But my hope is not only in Obama; it is in America. The real America, who rarely let their voices be heard. I just have this sense that Americans are finally waking up, and believing, and taking action.

I am also scared. You capture the emotion well.

But I have hope. It's the kind of hope that feels laden with responsibility-- responsibility for not only the work of election time, but--more importantly--for the work that will follow, the work to change America from the bottom up.

I hope--and I believe--that we are up to it.

Chris Long said...

Not sure if you got this before.

Just wanted to THANK YOU for taking the courage to share your TRUTH regarding HOPE.

As a Seminarian of Color within this living/LOVING Faith tradition, I find keeping HOPEful in believing our faith with live up to it's Call in anti-racism, anti-oppressions and multicultural work to be HARD. Even with these CHALLENGES, I choose to remain dedicated to this Faith and its work in becoming more of the Beloved Community, knowing that in my life time there may be little (or sadly no) progress on this front.

That said, I also believe and have believed since his (President Obama's) 2004 SPEECH at the DNC Convention that his fate may be the same as those leaders you mention. Hoever, his vision has inspired me to not live in this FEAR(false, evidence, appearing real), no matter what happens after his election. His BELIEVING and living in HOPE inspires me to do the same.

Thanks again for sharing as you have.

Chris Long
Third Year Starr King Student

Steve Caldwell said...

Kitty -- I found the background story on this video to be interesting:

New Celeb-Filled Music Video for Obama

This is a celebrity-filled video that was created independently of the Obama campaign.

Scott Wells mentioned on his blog that he was canvassed by people supporting Obama but not officially part of the campaign:

This local volunteer example and this celebrity "viral video" marketing example both point towards the same trend.

I think that after years of turning a cynical and snarky eye towards government , Barack Obama is forcing us to re-evaluate this attitude.

Anna Banana said...

When I filled in my ballot for Obama last week, I wondered why I wasn't dancing around and all happy about it. Scared of all that can go wrong, that's it. Great post.

Adam Tierney-Eliot said...

Hey, thanks for the shout out and the very perceptive post. Good concerns for a rather intense time. I responded at my blog (no, not the football post, the other one) and so, for that matter, did my dad (I am a computer incompetant and can't do links, just google "Jim Tierney blog").

Keep the Faith,

Lizard Eater said...

The Husband and I talked about Obama this week. My first election, I voted for Dukakis. The Husband and I, our generation, we've been waiting and hoping for our Kennedy. And we got Bill Clinton -- and we were excited. We did it! we said ... only to be mocked later for believing in him.

But hope does spring eternal and we are so hopeful about Barack Obama. But like you, I too, am afraid. "I hope he learned from Benazir Bhutto," I told my mother. "I hope he is taking the advice from his security team. Because someone is going to want to kill him."

Prayers and hope going hand in hand ...