Hope Trumps Fear

I believe it was the science fiction immortal, Robert A. Heinlein who once wrote that there are two kinds of people, those who fear the future and those who embrace it with hope.

At times, those who stoke fear and mistrust can temporarily hold sway in American political life. Right now is one of those times. However, it cannot win in the long run. That is because America was founded upon hope and in the belief that a republican representative democracy populated by those who believed in a better future than they or their fore bearers had in the land they left to come here, would choose good over evil, hope over fear, because they knew the only way is forward.

Yes, there is a core 35 percent of our citizens who fear change and want to turn back the clock to a time that either never was, or that is permanently gone as the world has changed. Like modern Know Nothings, they fear immigrants will take their jobs and cause crime. Once it was the Irish, then Germans and Italians, then Jews and now Hispanics.  They would rather be lied to about old economy jobs coming back, than embrace the new economy. They fear the growing economic and political power of women and minorities, because wrongly see such power as a zero sum game in which another’s gain  must be their loss.

Such people have always been the prey of demagogues, a Father Coughlin, a Huey Long, a Joe McCarthy and now Donald Trump. But while such evil can temporarily ascend, the the American people have proven time and again that the majority sees through such mendacity and recognize it for what it is, the false siren song of authoritarianism.

But the fight for the soul and future of America is never won by those who stand and wait. It is won by those who work and vote for it. In this time, when most Republican office holders either fear or support Donald Trump, it is up to independents and Democrats to resist hate and fear and the false idol of reaction and remembering that America is great, get it back to the mainstream of its history and the moral high ground that made it what it is.

As Heinlein also observed, in the long run those who embrace the future with hope always win, because fear can never prevent the future from coming.

–Fred Grumman, DEC Member