I found this compelling quote a few years ago, and thought to myself: things are so bad right now, how can anyone believe this? Now, several years later, in many or most ways, things seem far worse.
I am heartened only by my grandkids, teenagers with exuberant, productive lives. I don't see apathy. I don't see drugs. I don't see phone addiction or online danger. Am I blind here? I don't think so. It's so refreshing to see them grow and change, and at the same time, so utterly heartbreaking as their childhood slips away.
They have been my "hope in bad times", but what will be next? I once wrote a piece and posted it here, and immediately lost several long-term subscribers. Since then, I have been leery of posting anything too honest. And yet, others receive hundreds of thousands of views for the very same kind of thing. There is something about MY honesty that, for reasons unknown, people just don't want to see.
I don't want to contemplate my life, what went right or wrong, and when I look back and see "wrong", much of it is things I couldn't help. But it's hard to see that. When I look back on bounty and joy, I am sad, even crushed that those days are all over.
And yet, I have hope, or at least on good days, days when a glossy, sassy red-winged blackbird flies down to eat out of my hand, days when I see my beautiful granddaughters dance exquisitely and move me to tears, days when I perceive true and undiscouraged purpose in the next generation (when I asked Caitlin what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said, "A forensic criminologist," and so she will be, if she so desires).
Quotes like these - and I don't know when this was written, or even who Howard Zinn is or was - seem almost naive now, but they're needed. I don't know what is going to happen politically - a second Trump term seems almost inevitable, as the cult is obviously now in charge of the free world. Even Australia just voted in an extreme conservative, and it won't be long until Justin Trudeau will be routed for someone with a mind snapped shut.
So I try to get on with my day, wondering what will happen when this round of blessings runs its course, as they always do. More has always been given to me up to now, but will those blessed things very soon run dry? I don't know. I'm no good at the future, which doesn't exist anyway. "If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something." Cults stop human growth, and attract those who are afraid of growth and change and want someone to stop it, or even reverse the clock. Somehow, some way, can we get out from under the forces that are pressing down on true freedom like a giant thumb? We may not have to wait for some grand utopian future - but the clock is ticking, and time is running short.