The "Hope" Thing

As i write this, we are exactly two days into the new Obama administration, and I'm still getting used to this "hope" thing. Over the past eight years, I've become so accustomed to things going from bad to worse where our country's domestic and foreign policies are concerned, I've almost forgotten what it's like when things go right.

Sure, sure, it's too early to say with any confidence that things will start to change for the better, but early indications are good. And anyway, isn't that what this "hope" thing is all about? Already, President Obama (I really like writing that!) is making moves to restore the honor and dignity of our nation that have been so badly tarnished under the Bush administration, and so, yes, hope is starting to bubble up.

So, two days in, if I am to allow myself to hope for things, I'm going to hope for some global accomplishments, like an end to torture and rendition, like peace in the Middle East that recognizes the sovreignity and security of both Israel and Palestine, like the closing the of the Guantanamo Bay prison, like an orderly, dignified end to our occupation of Iraq, like successfully completing our mission in Afghanistan, and like the capture (at last) of Osama bin Laden.

I'm also going to hope for the things that affect our daily lives here in America, like a massive re-investment in our infrastructure, like the creation of three million new jobs, like sane and humane immigration policy, like regulation of the banking and financial markets, like enforcement of environmental, health & safety, and civil rights regulations, like New Orleans finally being rebuilt, like an end to spying on ordinary, innocent American citizens. And like openness and accountability in our government...

Yeah, I'm hoping for that last one big time.

Wow, maybe I'm better at this hope thing than I thought. Turns out once you start to hope for one or two things, it snowballs and you find yourself hoping for a lot of things.

The trouble with hope is that it can often lead to disappointment. Candidate Obama disappointed me more than once, and I expect President Obama will do the same over the next four (eight?) years. He's not superhuman; he's not capable of granting miracles. He will make mistakes that disillusion me, and he will make decisions that I disagree with. But I'm willing to bet that he will delight and amaze me far more often than he will disappoint me.

And so I have hope.

There are other kinds of hope, too. Radio talker Rush Limbaugh stated just yesterday that he hopes President Obama will fail. While I don't see the point in that, I can understand the anger and frustration he must feel, as he too is tarnished by the utter failure of the Bush presidency that he has supported without fail. It calls to mind the Oscar Wilde quote: "It's not enough that I succeed; all my friends must fail."

Do we need that kind of hope right now? I think not.

While Oscar Wilde's words were meant to make us laugh, Limbaugh's are meant to dash our hopes.

So, I'll add one more hope to my list. I hope that anyone wishing bad things upon our new president will pipe down and give the man a chance.

We need jobs, we need security, we need need peace, we need prosperity, and President Obama has a unique opportunity to restore all those things.

Here's hoping that things will start working well in America, and that we'll all be okay.