Like the author of this post on Resilient Resistance (The Race…), I am continually surprised at how surprised I am when even “simple” civil rights decisions take a turn toward unfettered authoritarianism or even full-on fascism. I am devastated at the media frenzy in the oncoming election cycle (the next federal elections are now 16 months away…) that already is poised to splinter and subdue anyone in opposition to the current administration’s racist, sexist, nationalist, able-ist, sectarian, (you get the picture) policies and actions.

How do I stay hopeful? There are also some major media outlets that are beginning to advocate for fact-checking, for actual debate (as opposed to innuendo and name-calling), and for looking for commonalities more than differences. They are willing to call out people who abuse polite conversation, and those who prefer polite discourse are finally refusing to be badly treated. There are literally millions of people who are talking about, writing about, speaking about, and showing up for civic activities that are essential to a true democracy; a community that has differences, but that can compromise when it’s useful, and that realizes that a person or group doesn’t have to be the “winner” of every discussion or plan of action.

I stay hopeful because I see young people who are starting to sit up and decide for themselves rather than blindly doing and voting as their families “have always done.”

I am hopeful because I see older people taking the time to explain and share how they came to their conclusions rather than merely belittling the opinions and knowledge of young people; and listening carefully to both questions and the new knowledge of the upcoming generations.

I am hopeful because I still believe that when each person does what they believe is BEST for the world (as opposed to self-interest) that it works out.

And, to be honest, I am hopeful because I teach and I garden. Things change, often unexpectedly and undesirably, and one adjusts and goes on. Because I teach, I must remain positive and proactive in taking care of the vulnerable young people in my care. I can do that because I garden. Because I garden, I know that as one plant

  • dies
  • is eaten
  • uprooted
  • damaged
  • changed

an opportunity is created for new ideas and better plant communities. And it is the same with people, with ideas, with politics.

It is time to plant hopefully, and work for a future that sustains and honors life. I am ready. Are you?

  • If you would like to vote and aren’t registered, you can check voter eligibility for your state at vote.gov or at vote411.org.

If you want to be in contact with your elected federal officials (even if you are not a citizen or are ineligible to vote, these people still represent you!), you can find the federal directories at senate.gov or house.gov.