The Audacity of Hope

February 23, 2008

In the past few months I have been reminded by many that hoping for a thing does not make it true. Watching the US Presidential Election I have heard the same theme emerge as Hilliary Clinton attempts to question Barack Obama’s ability to convert lofty and eloquent speeches into real change. I even posted a Seesmic video about it recently.

The question I have, though, is if hope does not make something happen, then what does?

Doesn’t all action involve hope? Is not hope a key ingredient for change?

Before one can achieve a thing, they must first imagine it. Before they act on their imagining they must first dare to hope that they could actually have some impact on the outcome.

Even decisions made based on fear involve a hope to avoid that which we fear.

Hope is a powerful driving force. It enables us to act. Without hope, we are often paralyzed.

Most people I talk to who ‘wish’ they could do something better, or more ambitious, have a common refrain. They dare not hope that their more lofty goals are attainable. They therefore do not act.

Imagine if you could gather a large enough group of people to hope for the same outcome. If you had the right mix of participants and the right critical mass, is there anything that hope, followed by action, can not achieve?

Criticizing hope is actually a thinly veiled claim of naivety or unjustified idealism. If one’s hopes are too big, too ambitious or too lofty, then surely they must be too naive to understand the complexity of the issue and the magnitude of the challenge ahead.

Maybe that’s true. Maybe those who start with hope and push for change have not yet been sufficiently jaded by a broken system or violent resistance to their ideas.

Maybe, though, if those idealistic and naive people (if in fact they are those things) can somehow encourage others to hope, and then still others; maybe, just maybe, hope will turn into action, and action will turn into real change.

To paraphrase the West Wing… “Do you think a small group of dedicated people can change the world” “Of course, it’s the only thing that ever has”.

Hope is not empty. It can never be false. Hope, well expressed and shared, is the beginning of something new.

Dare to hope. Then act.

10 Responses to “The Audacity of Hope”

  1. Carol Says:

    Barack Obama talks about CHANGE and HOPE.Well so do I. What exactly does he intend to change and how will he make it happen? Please be specific.

  2. Ben Says:

    In the last 8 years we suffered from a suppressive, fear mongering & quasi-dictator. Barack Obama is only messenger for CHANGE, HOPE and optimism. He embodies a refreshing face to a bitter world.

    Maybe he doesn’t have years of gridlock Washington experience. But lets look at what we do know about him; how he’s ran his campaign.

    A) Financial Management
    >>About $140 Million Dollars from a HUGE base of support (involving more people in the political process not simply those with large wallets.)

    B) Organizational Abilities
    >>11 out of 13 Caucuses were won by LARGE margins primarily accredited to his (and his staff’s) ability to organize.

    C) Speaking Ability
    >> Listen and watch the man; he restores the face of optimism that most of us can’t even recall feeling.

    D) Transparency
    >>He disclosed his tax info, when Hillary refused. Also, his creative uses of information technologies speak loudly to a vision of transparency. The internet helps us all put ourselves in the limelight for open praise and criticism.


  3. I live in Illinois. I’m not impressed with Barack Obama. He does not inspire me.I’m 57 years old. I lived through the Dr. King and Kennedy years. Obama keeps envolking their names like he is casting a magic spell.
    Long before W was elected President I was telling people he would start a war with Iraq.I was right about the war and right about the fact W started the Iraq war.
    How was I able to predict the future. The answer is not MAGIC.
    I pay attention to the world I live in. I’m paying attention to what is happening right now also.Listen very carefully, if you need a politician to inspire you to have hope in a better future, you’re not the caliber of person that will be able to nurture those seeds long enough for them to grow.
    I pity all you empty vessels that need Barack Obama to pour his FALSE words of hope into you.
    I capitalized the word FALSE because, I’m predicting you voters are not really listening to what he is saying.
    Best of luck in your flawed thinking. I don’t have much hope in the masses comming to their senses anytime soon. After all weren’t most of you tricked by W into believing prosperity and hope return to America only if we CHANGED the leadership in Iraq.
    Now you people ask me to blindly believe in your ability to think the right thoughts now.
    If you don’t mind I prefer to continue being the free thinker I was way back before Dr. King and John F. Kennedy uttered the words Barack Obama is using to cast his spell over you people.
    In closing I’d like to ask you question What is the one thing poor people don’t have enough of? It is not HOPE or THE NEED FOR A CHANGE IN WASHINGTON POLICITS.
    If any of the people reading this quessed: GREED I commend you.You’re not afraid to do the critical thinking it take to truely solve problems.
    VOTE FOR ME, I’LL TEACH YOU HOW TO BE GREEDY. THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL YOU BE ABLE TO HAVE REAL HOPE
    Footnote: all capitalized phrases are prediction of the future.

  4. chrissaad Says:

    My post was not really a political one – more about how hope plays a part in real change in general. The political campaign as well as my own experiences were just the inspiration for the question.

  5. Ben Says:

    @Gerald:

    Just curious, what does inspire you? Or are you generally a pessimistic idealist?

  6. Ben Says:

    @ Chris:
    I apologize for the tangent. Long live DataPortability, the real subject of this post.


  7. Ben I apologize to you. I use broad sweeping generalities quite often. There wasn’t any one thing on your blog that grabbed me to the point where I said to myself, I have to respond to that. My main goal here is to add rich content to Chris Saad’s blog.
    The common thing I see with most Barack Obama supporters is; they don’t look past the tone of his voice. He is not a great man. He is an actor playing the part of a great man.
    President Kennedy was not a great man Martin Luther King was not a great man. They were products of Great Times. They didn’t create the events on the world stage; they acted out their roles on.
    In the year of February 25, 2008 these are not great times. Even if every registered voter voted for Barack Obama he would not become a great man from great times. All the other ingredients are missing.
    I have taken several professional recording studio classes. I know how to add just the right amount of reverb to a person’s voice to arouse the emotions of an audience. So I’m not surprised to hear sound bites of Barack’s speeches being played over and over again. The chord of HOPE he strikes in all of you is only an acoustic vibration know as resonance. The universe vibrates at 32 octaves above middle C. What I see happening at the Obama rallies is most of the audience changes the frequency their Emotional Body normally vibrates at when he says the word HOPE. I observed the same thing when W said. “I’m a UNITER NOT A DEVIDER”.
    Ask yourself; do you get filled up with pride for America or filled with HOPE when you listen to Barack debate the other candidates?

    In response to the question what inspires me? The INTERNET; It allows us to share our opinions. One of the banners The United States of America waves reads; America is the Melting Pot of the World. If you truly grasp the meaning of that phrase; you will surely agree the internet is the new melting pot of the world.
    In your question you also asked if I’m a pessimistic idealist. I’m not afraid to be pessimistic when I think it is called for. Ben first and foremost I’m a free thinker. Unlike most of the registered voters I have read most of the content on Barack Obama three main websites.
    My comments are not meant to dash anyone’s hopes. Like I said before; there is no substance to most of what Barack Obama says. John Huckabee is a minister by profession. Barack and his supporters are asking for more blind faith than John Huckabee is. If you people don’t see a red flag waving I’m sorry for you and your hopes and dreams for a better life, country, and world.

  8. Aziz Al-Naib Says:

    Messengers of HOPE
    Passionate about establishing Peace and love in IRAQ

    To my dear messengers of HOPE, to all of you who are passionate about establishing love and peace in Iraq, I hope you receive this news in your best health.

    We would like to thank you every one of you for your profound support in launching the “Messengers of Hope”.

    Our main goal in forming “Messengers of Hope” is to help the 2.3 million Iraqi people displaced from their homes; 65% are Children.

    They are still living inside Iraq, in the Sahara, outside cities and near the borders of Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria.

    Some of them do not have a tent or any shelter; they are suffering and are in desperate need of medicine, food, water and heating. The children in these areas also have neither care nor education.

    All are the victims of war in Iraq. Our aim is to help them recuperate, adjust to their refuge and ultimately stop the violence and hostility in their home land, so they can return to their homes safely.

    The destruction and bombings have not just killed the innocent but also killed the hope of the people who have to live through the daily ordeal; with uncertainty of the future concerning safety and security.
    Even the environment and the habitat have been contaminated because of the radiation resulting from depleted uranium and the ensuing diseases.
    It is vital to consider the cleaning and protection of the environment in Iraq in order to stop the contamination of the environment spreading throughout the whole region (Middle East).

    All this certainly does not sustain a respectable human life.

    “Messengers of HOPE” seeks to both provide humanitarian relief and raising awareness of the issue by making a documentary of their plight.
    “Messengers of HOPE” are currently working on this project and raising funds to be able to buy:
    1. Dried food and clean water.
    2. Clothing and blankets.
    3. Education materials including stationery items and books.
    4. Medicine.
    5. Twenty large trailers to provide mobile medical, mobile education centres and mobile power supplies.

    With these raised funds we will also produce documentaries to raise awareness on the situation.

    If you would like to help with the documentary or have something to donate please contact Aziz Al-Naib, aziz_alnaib@hotmail.com

    We urge you to engage in talks or dialogue, to attend our meetings and be involved in helping, so that together we can reach the best solutions for these problems. Let’s put an end to the crisis and suffering of these people and achieve the ultimate goal for all Iraqis: LOVE and PEACE.

    We welcome any suggestions you can give us as to ways and means of raising funds to achieve our goal.

    Please spread the message and share this e-mail with anyone you know, be it Leaders, individuals or organisations.

    My best regards, God bless you all and may The Mighty bless and save Iraq.

    Aziz Al Naib
    Artist and Ambassador for Peace, UPF

    ¨ Founder of “Messengers of HOPE”, Passionate about establishing Peace and love in IRAQ
    ¨ Arabian Cultural Club, Promoting multi-cultural understanding
    ¨ Iraqi/British multi media consultant, writer and Journalist.
    ¨ Founder and Chair of Arabian Cultural Club U.K.
    ¨ One of the founders of Aljamaheer press and publishing house in Iraq.
    ¨ One of the publishers and designer of Al-Yaum Newsletter in the U.K
    ¨ Member of the Iraqi Journalist Union, the Iraqi Arts Society, the Iraqi Calligraphy Union, the Iraqi Artist Union, and one of the founders of the Gallery 4 in Baghdad and London U.K.
    ¨ One of the founders of Iraqi Arts Society in the UK.

    12 Belmont Road, London, W4 5UH United Kingdom

    E-mail: aziz_alnaib@hotmail.com

    http://www.messengersofhope.co.uk or http://www.messengersofhope.org.uk
    Website is having updates now and should go live soon.

    Tel: 44 (0) 207 563 0907 Answer: 44 (0) 207 262 0985 UK.
    M. 44 (0) 7881 815 413 & (0) 7788 186 774 UK. Tel. (9641) 521 44 99 Baghdad, Iraq

    ”Messengers of HOPE” are working together with UPF to support United Nations initiatives to fulfill the Millennium Development projects.
    We are looking for the support of: the Arab, Muslim and International Leaders, The UN Refugee Agency, The Friends of the UN, The Arab League, The Arab and Muslim Red Crescent, The Red Cross, The Refugee Council, Amnesty International, The Human Rights Watch, The Iraqi Parliament, all Arabs, Muslims and all other Nations, Arabian Cultural Club and the Activists, NGO’s and other organizations who share the same vision; working towards helping the displaced and caring for the environment, safety, security and the future of the whole region.

    Many thanks for supporting “Messengers of HOPE”.
    I am grateful to you and hope we can get advice from you.
    Or please send it to the right people with many thanks.
    Eid Mubarak, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year.
    Sincere Regards,
    Aziz Al-Naib
    aziz_alnaib@hotmail.com

    Many thanks for the first support by Ms Kamrunn.

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  10. This is a must read for anyone interested in knowing Obama. It is like a window to the man’s soul. I read the book almost a year after he was elected President and it struck me how much of the same arguments he presented in the book he later used during the campaign and during his first year as president.


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