Sunday, January 27, 2008

Is Hope Enough?

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
- Hebrews 11:1 (New Living Translation)

I went upstairs last night to watch the returns from South Carolina, thinking there might be a bit of suspense about the outcome. For the days preceding the election the media was reporting that there was a white flight away from Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton. As they have been for weeks, the media was wrong. Obama won a stunning fifty-seven percent of the vote. Now in the aftermath the media is trying to explain the landslide. Most experts chalk it up to the African-American vote going overwhelmingly to Obama.

There’s far more to it than that. It’s all about hope and belief, the belief that even the least of us matter, that it’s once again time to bind up a nation’s wounds and heal, that it’s a time for hope to become a reality. For those who cannot or will not understand it the message must seem quite nebulous. The timeless messages often are.

In his acceptance speech, Obama went right to the heart, speaking heart to heart to those gathered. The message was plain for all to hear, for his supporters as well as detractors:
“There are those who will continue to tell us we cannot do this. That we cannot have what we long for. That we are peddling false hopes.”“But here's what I know. I know that when people say we can't overcome all the big money and influence in Washington, I think of the elderly woman who sent me a contribution the other day — an envelope that had a money order for $3.01 along with a verse of scripture tucked inside. So don't tell us change isn't possible.” “When I hear the cynical talk that blacks and whites and Latinos can't join together and work together, I'm reminded of the Latino brothers and sisters I organized with, and stood with, and fought with side by side for jobs and justice on the streets of Chicago. So don't tell us change can't happen.” “When I hear that we'll never overcome the racial divide in our politics, I think about that Republican woman who used to work for Strom Thurmond, who's now devoted to educating inner-city children and who went out onto the streets of South Carolina and knocked on doors for this campaign. Don't tell me we can't change.” “Yes we can change.” “Yes we can heal this nation.”“Yes we can seize our future.” “And as we leave this state with a new wind at our backs, and take this journey across the country we love with the message we've carried from the plains of Iowa to the hills of New Hampshire; from the Nevada desert to the South Carolina coast; the same message we had when we were up and when we were down - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope; and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people in three simple words:”“Yes. We. Can.”

I’m not an Obama supporter, but I am a great admirer of the movement he’s started. Obama, the medium, and his message have drastically altered the center of gravity in the Democratic Party. There is something very historic happening.

I’m a Mike Huckabee supporter, one of those idle dreamers who is hoping against hope that the message of hope and change will shake the Republican Party to its core in the same way Barack Obama’s has sent shockwaves through the Democratic Party. Fighting against the tide of powerful opinion, lacking the financial resources to do traditional battle, armed only with his conviction and the power of widows’ mites, the man from Hope is waging a shoestring campaign against the entrenched.

Can he win? I don’t know. But I am hoping against hope, believing that the things I cannot see will become realities.

Several weeks ago, upon winning the Iowa Republican caucus, Governor Huckabee, like Barack Obama, went right to the heart of the matter:

“I think we've learned three very important things through this victory tonight. The first thing we've learned is that people really are more important than the purse, and what a great lesson for America to learn. Most of the pundits believe that when you're outspent at least 15 to 1, it's simply impossible to overcome that mountain of money and somehow garner the level of support that's necessary to win an election.”

“Well, tonight we proved that American politics still is in the hands of ordinary folks like you and across this country who believe that it wasn't about who raised the most money but who raised the greatest hopes, dreams and aspirations for our children and their future.”

“And tonight I hope we will forever change the way Americans look at their political system and how we elect presidents and elected officials.”

“Americans are looking for a change. But what they want is a change that starts with a challenge to those of us who were given this sacred trust of office so that we recognize that what our challenge is to bring this country back together, to make Americans, once again, more proud to be Americans than just to be Democrats or Republicans.”

“To be more concerned about being going up instead of just going to the left or to the right.”
“And while we have deep convictions that we'll stand by and not waiver on, or compromise -- those convictions are what brought us to this room tonight. But we carry those convictions not so that we can somehow push back the others, but so we can bring along the others and bring this country to its greatest days ever.”

“What is happening tonight in Iowa is going to start really a prairie fire of new hope and zeal. And it's already happening across this nation because it is about we; we the people.”

“We saw it tonight. We've seen it in other states. And we're going to continue to see it because this country yearns and is hungry for leadership that recognizes that when one is elected to public office, one is not elected to be a part of the ruling class; he's elected to be a part of the serving class.”

Hope…..Hope…Hope! The cynics try to extinguish it, but it remains. Like the volunteer flowers that spring up through the cracks each spring, hope always comes alive in due season. And so it is today. The page has turned and hope is springing forth. As it always has been, the time for plucking must give way to the planting. The breaking down must surrender to the building up. The time for casting away must yield to the gathering together.

Will hope be enough? I cannot say. All I can do is cling to it, to ride its refreshing wave. The cynics may win the battle, but hope will win out in the end. The idle dreamers may lose every battle, but the dreams will never die. They will win out!


Anonymous said...

Sometimes someone comes along and lifts our eyes away from the hope that really matters. I thank you for your enduring message.

TheNewsBlogger said...

Excellent post. It is terribly unfortunate that some members of our party are more interested in supporting a big money candidate than a candidate who is a true conservative.

I hope that hope wins this time.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I'm hoping the same thing. I'm more than willing to give Mike Huckabee a chance, despite all the heavy-handed negativism against him by the mainstream conservative punditry. He'll get my vote in the GOP primary.