When Barack Obama began telling the people of the United States that he was the key to a better future, that we should have Hope we bought it.
I believed it.
I feel so sickened and grieved with the world's endurance of the Bush administration, I am so tired of remembering the days of shame, when our state's governor was recalled, when our mayor was replaced, when our City Council was mired in economically poor decisions that deprived people of their pension as promised. I am so tired of being embarrassed to be an American, instead of being proud to be American.
I remember the pride I felt when I took my oath of citizenship at 18-years-old that I had become a member of a great nation, a world leader toward a better future.
And now I just feel sad.
I am a sad American. I sometimes do forget September 11, 2001. Why? Because we are fighting an insane war in a country that had nothing to do with that attack. Iraq. I heard the death count of Iraqi's yesterday and could not distinguish between terrorists. My first rationalization was, "our leader is more organized, more powerful, more rational. Our people have been given reasons for our leaders' behavior and we believe that they are doing the right thing for the right reasons." Then I realized that the people of the world had similar thoughts in World War II as we allowed Hitler to continue his march through Europe and completely ignored the genocides in China and Japan as related in the tandem of death.
I wondered if we were repeating that history in an incredibly horrific way.
I wondered how close to hell and the devil this purgatory of life had become. The so-called Christian Right is training its children to be warriors for Christ (see Jesus Camp, an A&E documentary if you really want to be fascinated and terrified at once). My so-called Christian liberals hold to the Gospel of Jesus and remember that He was a rebel, that he ate with the people he was not supposed to even speak with, that he loved the prostitutes and gave them true hope, that he fought the thieving government and turned over the tables in the the temple. But our voices are so quiet, muted next to the fundamentalist evangelicals who give Christians a bad name and don't even recognize their parallels with the very people they call their enemies--the people who do not hold their religion. "I think they're Muslims," said Rachael, when she heard Black men in a park say they were going to heaven after they died but didn't follow up with "Jesus saved me" or "I accepted Jesus into my heart on such and such date." (Jesus Camp, closing scenes & credits)
Now, with all the other politicians running for President and the governor and mayor also proclaiming that there is hope for the future (all chanting hope for change, whether they have held office for years or are relative newbies), I do not feel secure in the message any more.
How can they all promise change? How can they deliver?
And if we are all supposed to have hope, isn't that just a euphemism for saying, "Life really sucks right now and we know it. Things need to change because right now we are the road to dissolution and demolition and doom."?
Why has the phrase "hope for the future" begun to leave me with fear and loathing?