OpEdNews Op Eds

Hoping Against Indifference

      (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It


Author 138
- Advertisement -

Heretofore all too seldom, several authors have been read in recent weeks expressing sentiments of hope against and despite all that so many more authors have so richly and explicitly detailed as going wrong with our world.

I find such hope refreshing, for while anger at injustice is certainly justified, and when properly focused can spur one to action, anger without hope ineffectually leads only to more anger. And anger is never added to anger. It only multiplies.

I also find hope fascinating, most of all when it persists in the face of so much that would destroy it. And from every direction we face it certainly seems these days an awful lot of hope-busting missiles are zeroing in.

Hope, most of all, is the refusal of being indifferent. As author and founder of the Small Planet Institute Frances Moore Lappé once wrote so well, "Hope is not for wimps; it is for the strong-hearted who can recognize how bad things are and yet not be deterred, not be paralyzed."

Hope is active and not passive. It requires living one step ahead of reality, imagining things as different from as they are now, believing in spite of the odds. Hard work, to hope.

Hope is conceived from the union of imagination and indignation. It is the child of expectation and desire. And it gives life to the idea that every present is incomplete, and gives the lie to the belief that the way things are is the best and most natural outcome of all that has gone on before.

Dominant beliefs, held most strongly by those whose turn in power and those they lead, are typically at pains to suggest they are no more alterable by human hands than are the orbits of the earth. Hope is thus dismissed as naïveté, equated with ignorance of the "facts" and with denial of "reality". It is ridiculed as the drug of the powerless, and laughed off as the high of the truly hopeless.

But the past informs us that the dominant beliefs of one age themselves are often ridiculed in the next. History often proceeds by a process of reversal: momentum going in one direction is replaced by momentum in the opposite, each shift in momentum brought about by collective imagination and indignation. And while history provides us many lessons, one endures: successful change comes from hope, not from indifference.

- Advertisement -

Yet too many in this country today remain utterly indifferent to politics. Tyrannized by their overscheduled lives, distracted by money and possessions, celebrity and sport, or preoccupied with simply keeping their heads and those of their children above water, too many Americans live believing the state of the world does not concern them.

Others, more and more still, have likely been overwhelmed into their indifference by the very state of the world. Quite forgivable, given the events of the past six years. It is quite natural, after all, to vacillate between the determination to act, and the desire to retreat into the comforts of fun, family and friends.

But indifference is a nonetheless a conscious act, whether a temporary neglect or a permanent abandonment of hope. It requires one hanging up their ideals, putting away their enthusiasms, quieting their questioning spirit, and closing the lid on their indignations. It says of the present world, "It's not for me to understand." It says, "I cannot change the way things are," even as one's private concerns, one's happiness, and one's life course will every day be affected by the way things are.

As Americans we live in a democracy, and indifference is fatal to its survival. The powerful, they haven't stopped hoping: in fact, what they're hoping most for is our indifference.

When we don't participate, when might we do it? And if we don't do it at all, what are we saying? What have we decided?

- Advertisement -

To stay right where we are.

While sometimes naïve, others uninformed, hope is at least a noble journey, though that is not to say the right path is always taken. Who knows if there is even a "right" path? That is the beauty of democracy: when citizens actively participate, the question of who and what is "right" gets sorted out over time.

We have only to hope.



Todd Huffman is a pediatrician and writer living in Eugene, Oregon. He is a regular contributor to many newspapers and publications throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -
Google Content Matches:

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

What Does Freedom Mean Anymore?

The Crisis of Meth

Poverty In America: A Republican Moral Failing

Rules Don't Apply To Me

Do Parents Matter?

Stem Cells To Stay Locked Up


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
12 people are discussing this page, with 21 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)
no, not religious, as such (although Tolkein was a... by Blue Pilgrim on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 12:53:29 AM
I, too, have always been inspired by Tolkein. Than... by Todd Huffman, M.D. on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 8:53:50 AM
Our best hope, I think, will be our abil... by Mark A. Goldman on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 6:29:07 AM
 "HOPE has two children. The first is AN... by Eileen Fleming on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 8:18:06 AM
I am disgusted with all this BS about hope; unless... by Joel S. Hirschhorn on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 8:31:49 AM
everything is a nail. I've been very supportiv... by Rob Kall on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 9:27:01 PM
Did you even read the piece? To write such a post,... by Todd Huffman, M.D. on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 8:48:14 AM
I read a lot.Student work, papers, research articl... by Robert Chapman on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 12:04:04 PM
Thank you for your kind comment, and for those you... by Todd Huffman, M.D. on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 12:12:14 PM
I believe Dr. Huffman's article raised an impo... by MikeSpindell on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 1:12:33 PM
Thanks for this well and wisely stated comment. I ... by Todd Huffman, M.D. on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 2:26:57 PM
Hope is life's affirmation of life against all... by Richard Girard on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 3:20:45 PM
A beautiful statement, one that I'm writing do... by Todd Huffman, M.D. on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 5:02:01 PM
Are you aware Todd Huffman, M.D. how few, even of ... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 at 5:09:51 PM
Feel like I'm at a damn tea party, "beaut... by Mr M on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2007 at 1:58:13 AM
hope can be lost. But really, hope or despair are ... by Blue Pilgrim on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2007 at 4:53:21 AM
try yoga. it may not make you as happy initially ... by k kelly on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2007 at 9:14:53 AM
BluePilgrim,     I think that ... by MikeSpindell on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2007 at 10:53:45 AM
kikzz...    I've done some yoga... by Blue Pilgrim on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2007 at 2:08:15 PM
yea, i do understand.. LOTR trilogy & Hobbit a... by k kelly on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2007 at 3:29:21 PM
Despite my dyslexic typing. Liberties -- I guess..... by Blue Pilgrim on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2007 at 4:06:41 PM