We can’t give up hope, I’m often told. Keep hope alive, the saying goes. If we lose hope, nothing will ever change . . . or so they believe.
Well, I’m here to say: hope can be a dangerous cop-out.
We live on a planet brimming with people clinging to hope yet that same planet is under perpetual attack—and the hopers are losing. The corporations assaulting our eco-systems don’t hope they can steal more land, exploit it, poison it, and make boatloads of cash. They make a plan and make it happen. (You might even call it “direct action.”)
Monsanto doesn’t put its faith in candlelight vigils or humans standing in the shape of a peace sign. They get busy putting their people into positions of power, writing legislation, and bullying and smashing anyone opposed to their omnicidal agenda.
Exxon-Mobil doesn’t reserve its opinions for government sanctioned “free speech zones.” All forms of communication and pop culture are inundated with their taxpayer-subsidized propaganda—just as the planet is inundated with their output.
McDonald’s doesn’t waste time hoping things will go its way when its days are chock full of conditioning, killing, poisoning, destroying . . . and counting its profits. Hope never enters into the equation.
It also never enters into the equation on a micro level as we are surrounded by privilege-fueled predators ever ready to exploit and abuse those whose only shield is made of hope.
For most folks, the verb “hope” is virtually synonymous with “pray,” while “hope” the noun is often interchangeable with “faith.”
How about some good old-fashioned anger, rage, and passion instead? Let’s downplay hope and aim for vision, clarity, strategy, courage, solidarity, community, and finally: some results.
To borrow from Rita Mae Brown: “Never hope more than you work.”