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In Defense of Hope: Politics

Originally posted as a part of the blog series "In Defense of Hope" on Danielle S. Castillejo.

This Presidential election cycle is especially rough.

The global pandemic has revealed just how fragile human life is and how connected we are as a human race. It has showed us how asleep we are in our lives due to our obsession with productivity and busy-ness.

COVID has peeled back the thin veil on the pervasive and systemic racism in America. It seems as we are more divided than ever in our political views; taking sides behind a person or party. 

What a strange and traumatic time to be alive, truly.

We hold a lot. We hold our families, our neighbors, our communities, our country and our world in the face of chaos and panic. So much weight is riding on this election.

And, our individual choices have a collective impact.

How do we have any sense of hope as we approach politics with very few choices for candidates, within a system that doesn’t hold, capture, or reflect the American people as a whole… It would be tempting to give in to despair. The system is too big, too powerful, too forceful to fight.

This is the lie that leads to hopelessness.

When we believe the lie that our individual choices do not impact the collective, we are comforted by our despair. We assuage our anxiety and release ourselves from responsibility or action. Hopelessness is a kind of numbness that desensitizes us to our world and ourselves. 

To hope is a dangerous thing. It requires something vulnerable of us — it’s too precious to risk. We guard it, keep it safe, and protect ourselves from the pain and sorrow of living. To engage hope we must tend to the parts of us that are at the core of our identity, those that make up who we are and who we have become. To have hope is to continuously bring who you are on the inside to the outside. Hope is like warm light entering the cold, dark world. We are all drawn to the light of hope. We long to feel its glow permeate inside us, warming the deep, untouched, unseen parts of our being. 

What might hope look like this political season? What fuels hope inside of us?

Hope takes imagination and courage:

Imagination - We must be able to imagine something different than the current reality, to envision the kind of reality in which we want to live. This is so important as we look at the candidates up for elections: Who, in their broad leadership style and political affiliations, will be the person who can best get our nation moving in the direction to becoming the kind of country you imagine we could be — toward the country we set out to be. Will we be a nation where all people are treated equally, fairly and justly, who will honor each person’s value and worth?

Courage - We must have the boldness and bravery to risk, to defy hopelessness and fear. We must, as Brené Brown invites us, live lives of vulnerability that “dare greatly;” we must “show up” when we can’t control the outcome. We must not be deterred by the cost, because there is always a cost be it personal or collective that it will take to achieve the kind of nation and world we imagine and long for. We much choose to risk even when darkness, death and disappointment are a certainty. It is to choose to be alive and awake to our world, our families and ourselves. It is to not be consumed by hopelessness, or the anesthetization of despair. It is to hold both our “Hell No” and our “Heaven Yes,” as Dan Allender would say. It is Glennon Doyle's “Not This” and “This Instead.” To hope is to live in the tension of ambivalence and be stirred to movement. 

Now more than ever our country and world need your voice, your vote and your hope. 

Will you risk a life of hope or will you settle into the numbness of hopelessness? 

Will you choose hope?


Sources: Dan Allender, Glennon Doyle, Brené Brown, Danielle S. Castillejo

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