As I noted in my last post, the obscene policies and judicial pronouncements making it very clear that the Republican Party will do its damnedest at every turn to ensure elected officials address their needs first and foremost is an ongoing and discouraging state of affairs. It is understandable and certainly easy for most citizens already burdened with too many demands and worries to focus on how these political developments only emphasize how little their needs and interests matter.
That’s what they want you to think and believe; it makes their jobs so much easier. But it’s not over until we say it’s over.
Optimism, by contrast, especially optimism which is neither foolish nor silent, can be revolutionary. Where no one believes in a better future, despair is a logical choice, and people in despair almost never change anything. Where no one believes a better solution is possible, those benefiting from the continuation of a problem are safe. Where no one believes in the possibility of action, apathy becomes an insurmountable obstacle to reform. But introduce intelligent reasons for believing that action is possible, that better solutions are available, and that a better future can be built, and you unleash the power of people to act out of their highest principles. Shared belief in a better future is the strongest glue there is….
Consider, instead, the politics of optimism:
1) That realism ought best to be defined as ‘within our capacity’ and ‘necessary.’
2) That we have the capacity to create and deploy solutions to the world’s biggest problems, and the magnitude of the consequences of failure (both for ourselves and generations to come) demands that we act immediately.
3) That it is possible to act in such a way that the prospects of most people on the planet are improved. While certain costs will be incurred, the returns on those investments will be quite attractive, not only in ecological stability, international security and human well-being, but in terms of plain old economic prosperity. These solutions will make the future better than the present for the almost everyone, and greatly improve the lots of our children and grandchildren.
4) Therefore, defining our win scenarios, imagining the kind of future we want to create, describing the solutions that will make building that future possible, and publicly committing ourselves to success are the appropriate course of action. 
Powerful suggestions and ideals, and not at all beyond our capabilities to enact. We just need to devote a little bit of time and attention to considering on our own what policies are being promoted by and on behalf of the wealthiest, and consider how they play out over time. Those serving the narrow and self-serving interests of the few want no part of that contemplation. Keeping voters stirred and shaken serves their interests, and anything which affords a more reasoned analysis of their objectives is a death-knell to their pursuit of policies and principles favoring the few.
The process begins easily enough. Just ask: Who will win? Who will lose?
A brief period of introspection and deployment of common sense will make it clear that hypocrisy is the tool used most often and most effectively to promote and protect the few at the expense of the many. It will continue until we decide it won’t.
What kind of a nation do we choose to be? That answer will determine our future. We would all be best-served by giving it the thought it deserves, even if that ruffles the feathers of a wealthy extremist or two. They are different from you and me, but that doesn’t equate to “better” or “smarter.” Evidence makes that quite clear.
Those small investments of our time and in thought will pay dividends for us and our children no matter how many dollars are spent and how many extremists sputter their hypocritical nonsense. Our decisions and beliefs about democracy matter more than their campaign checks.
We have choices, still.
~ My Photo: Key Largo, FL – 02.20.05
Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows
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Life Will Answer – Thought-provoking inquiries & observations about how (and why) Life does … and does not, work for everyone. [Inspired by my book of the same name]
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The Middle Age Follies – A column offering a slightly skewed look at life for those of us on the north side of 50
Be the change you want in the world – Gandhi
This blog is offered to encourage more enlightened public discourse—by sharing observations about the ideologies which motivate our political, economic, and cultural debates. The simple hope: shedding light on current “strategies” will prompt more of us to realize a different approach is at least worth considering … assuming a better future is worth pursuing. (It is!)
The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because
of those who look at it without doing anything – Albert Einstein
 http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/007919.html; The Politics of Optimism by Alex Steffen – 03.25.08