Hellen Keller on optimism:
I know what evil is…For the very reason that I have come into contact with it, I am more truly an optimist. I can say with conviction that the struggle which evil necessitates is one of the greatest blessings. It makes us strong, patient, helpful men and women. It lets us into the soul of things and teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail.”
I’m considering what my “willing effort” is. 63 million citizens voted to steer the USA on its present course, knowing full well what they were voting for – there were no hidden agendas. When considering #presidentloco and his merry band of enablers, I can no longer say “this is not America” or “these are not American values.” This is America. This IS a dark side of American values.
These are the same shadow American values that built the wealth of a new nation upon the forced labor of enslaved people.
Those same values treated women as property not sentient enough to vote, to be educated, to control their own bodies.
Those same values enabled the forced relocations and extermination of indigenous peoples of this land.
The brutal occupation of the Philippines for 40 years.
The turning back of Jewish refugees fleeing the horror of the Holocaust.
The internment of US citizens of Japanese origin during WWII.
The wholesale bombing of Cambodia.
Environmental degradation. Corruption. Etc, etc., etc.
These shadow values have always been around and from time to time they take the lead. There is no guarantee that a society progresses forward in its development. Sometimes things regress, especially when confronted by changes difficult to understand or adapt to (e.g., globalization, automation, disrupted old industries that are never coming back, brand new industries, demographic changes).
But to be alive and aware during a critical turning point in the evolution of a nation is rare indeed. And the midterm election this year is the mother of turning points.
May the preponderance of good prevail.