Being at the End of the Year: Reflections on Hope

For Andrew Wimmer

Exuberance is Beauty.
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell[1]


It’s been a rough year. Just considering the big picture, to think of Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, and Rafah, is enough to make me gasp, gnash my teeth, and ache.  How much malice and violence can I, can we know of, witness, take in before we go nuts?  How much?

I think of loved ones I saw immediately after the election, and they looked as if they were headed to the most tragic funeral imaginable. Sure, they eventually got out of that profound funk, but it was scary to witness.  I felt out of it for a couple of days but then one day in class at Saint Louis University, I felt strangely buoyed: Thank God, the election is over. It’s time to get back to work.

The work goes on, whether Bush or Kerry is in the White House. Both  support American Empire.  And for me and some of my friends, Kerry would likely have been as dreadful in office on the Palestinian issue as Bush has been (as Clinton also was).

The work goes on.  And it is this reason that I am giving, for the New Year, a book to many of my friends.  It’s not a long book, right at 150 pages.  It’s not a difficult book; in fact, it’s quite enjoyable, and I think, it’s a must read for an aspiring, committed, and/or weary activist, citizen and/or human being.  It’s by Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark: Untold Stories, Wild Possibilities (New York: Nation Books, 2004). Read the rest of this entry »