Hope enriches my life by allowing me to see the way out of times of trouble. It allows me to make and keep strategies for my own success which over time will allow me to spread my success to others. I do this by finding job opportunities for friends of mine, working on building up new companies which will be ethical and prosperous. I believe strongly that by increasing my own success it allows me to give more back to groups, particularly Carbon Washington, FairVote, and UU which I believe are doing good work and making the world a better place.
The word hope reminds me of both Star Wars and President Obama. Star Wars because of that line by Jyn Erso in Rogue One, and President Obama because that is what he campaigned on in 2008. I get hope by remembering that there have been times where things have been so terrible, but with enough hard work and advocacy we are able to make the world better. No one action has ever fixed every problem from the beginning. World War II is a great example of this. While it ended the Nazi regime, East Germany wouldn’t see true freedom until 1990, with a government which was undemocratic and controlled by a foreign power. The decolonization of Africa has had a wide variety of results. Botswana and Sudan decolonized around the same time, from the same colonial power, Sudan in 1956, and Botswana in 1966. Botswana is ranked as a full democracy by the Economist Intelligence Unit, while Sudan is ranked as an authoritarian regime. An even better example is that of Belarus and Lithuania. Both neighbors received independence from the Soviet Union in the same year. Lithuania is a member of the European Union and Belarus has a democracy score around that of China, Iran, or Venezuela, lower than that of Russia, Iraq, or Egypt.
The main message of this is how democratization matters, and is possible to do in even the most dire of circumstances. The question is how do we have systems which empower people to be the best which they can be, both through encouragement and simply allowing people to prosper? When we have systems which empower people to be the best which they can be, the entire outlook on the world changes, from a personal point of view people are able to see how they can make their lives better, and by improving themselves or their situations they are able to make the world a better place. I have hope and have seen the trend that as time goes on, the world does indeed get better. This was originally said by Unitarian minister Theodore Parker. But if you understand the story of Theodore Parker, he clearly understood there was no inevitability to making the world better. People who know his work or knew him then understand that he put his own life in danger by being an abolitionist, putting himself and his family in personal danger from both the law of the day and the Klu Klux Klan. In this way, the idea that the world will inevitably become better is a belief that despite the danger to self, you have an absolute conviction that what you are doing is not just the right thing to do, but that over time you will win. I personally find this to be even more inspiring than an idea that there is some inevitability to it, but in reality, it is the belief that building off this inherent belief that people are inherently good that in time they will see the error in their ways. There is a Universalism to this point of view, the idea that all souls are valuable, which makes Parker’s quote even more inspiring with that context. It is through this hard work that we build on what we have, and as we move the Overton Window towards justice, the moral arc of the universe self bends. It is a quote of both extreme hope and also extreme empowerment. It is the knowledge that what we are building a world which works for all (to quote a dear friend of mine), and that we will succeed in the long run. A world can only work for all which listens to all. A system where everyone has the ability to have the power to improve their well-being in life, be protected from harm, and spread their good fortune to others.
All of this is impossible to summarize in a short quote which can be put on a t-shirt or a bumper sticker, takes five to ten minutes to read about, and takes years to fully internalize. Hope is not just a feeling you have. Hope is a verb which you do when you see the possibility of a better world. As we live our lives, being the best people we can be in face of such significant cultural forces which are constantly trying to push us off course, is not an easy task, but it is worthwhile. As we continue this journey of hope towards a better world and making ourselves into better people, we are fulfilling the promise of so many prophets which stretch from ancient time to the present day which continues to make the world a better place for all.
Infant mortality around the world has continued to plummet in almost every country in the world. This is one of the greatest successes in the history of humanity. We still have issues, but we have solutions for almost all of them, and working together as a species we will be able to overcome challenges which we face. Given what we have done in the past, we will solve global warming. The question is how much damage has to be done first until we we realize that we are in danger and need to act now to fight climate change. I know that we will get a vaccine for coronavirus in the very near future, and I hope the deployment of the vaccine will be fast and efficient so we can save as many lives as possible.