Tuesday, January 31, 2012


In the mix of hope and politically motivated change, there is an order of things. First we believe that something is possible, and then we engage enough people for a long enough time in the hard work of making it so.
So far the current storm of rhetoric about future seniors benefits is failing utterly to engage my hope. Personally, I hope there will be seniors benefits for my children. My children represent a broad and very picture of society. Some of them will live their adult lives as well-paid professionals. Others will earn minimum wage doing work that is important to all of us.
With our leaders scrambling for attention, it seems that I am being asked to choose between two visions. In the one vision, there are no sacrifices to be made. Then, in thirty years or so, everything will be all right. In the other, catastrophe will befall us at any moment. Neither vision engages me as a possibility worth working on. And yet, as a hopeful person, I am still waiting.
What is it that would engage my hope? I am waiting to hear what we are aiming for, an end I could believe in. And then, with that hoe planted firmly in view, I would like to hear some ideas about sacrifices we boomers need to make now so that all my children can have security as seniors. When the debate takes that direction, I think I may begin to hope, and when I hope, I seem to be more ready to work on the hard stuff.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Obama is talking less about hope these days, mentioning the word hardly at all, being, in general, less explicit about it than he was in the previous campaign. Has hope become unimportant to him then, or is it simply the natural progression of events in the career of a man who took on the mantle of power with great passion and discovered that, without the ongoing sacrificing support of many others, he cannot fix everything? If I were in charge of the world, I’d call him up and ask him, but since I am busy, and he is so hard to reach, I’ll bet on the natural progression theory.
I remember how he thrilled me back in 2008 with his ever-present use of the word in all its forms, his passionate support for hope, his gathering of hope around stories for the past, his urging of a country—no, the world—to move toward it. I remember how it warmed me to see how a message of hope brought the citizens of a country together to vote in a manner they likely had not intended at the start of the campaign. Here was evidence of hope in action, the realization of a hope lady’s dream.
Obama is still doing hope work today, albeit in a more subtle way, working, as we say in hope studies, implicitly rather than explicitly with hope. He’s finding hopeful stories from the past. He’s praising good work in the present. He’s using the word imagination and setting up the picture of a possible future.
Yes, I say it’s a natural progression, much like the one we see in so many instances. Explicit talk of hope gets you started, and then you get down to the hard stuff. Those who have a natural tendency to be hopeful handle the hard stuff more gently, more positively than those who prefer to embrace the future by bashing their opponents to smitherines in a good scrap.
That said, THE HOPE LADY is watching, hoping, for signs that Obama has not forgotten how important it is to mention hope every once in a while.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


If you are going to move, you can move the way I would move, the big and final way. You book a truck, you pack your things, you get your keys, you get the truck, you load your things, you deliver the things, you return the truck, you unpack. Presto! You have moved.

Or you can move the way Lawrence is moving. You pack some things, you get your keys, you get your buddy to move a few things with you. Then every day after that, you move a few boxes at a time. As time goes by, you begin to do things you would do if you lived there. One day you and your buddy can sit on your couch and play video games. Another day you can invite friends over for a simple dinner. Some day you will move your bed, and then you’ll be sleeping at the new place. Today you say, “I think we can manage without getting a truck!” This is the ease-yourself-into-it way.

And from it all, there is only one logical conclusion to be made. Moving into your own place is like so many other things in life. There is more than one way to do it.