Hope: The Symbolism of a New Era of Political Change

president obamaIn even the darkest of times, there is one particular essence of the human spirit which compels us to prevail and prosper; though we may experience great trials and witness ourselves and our lives subjected to disappointing and sometimes painful circumstances, hope is a part of the human experience which belies our deeply positive and creative nature. Hope may come in a variety of forms, from the simplest symbol, like the vibrant petals of a crocus emerging from winter’s snowy blanket, to the greatest acts of perseverance, as in those afflicted with terminal illnesses who nevertheless accomplish amazing things. But whether hope is embodied in a metaphor or brazenly displayed in our actions, it has the power to nourish and heal, to improve and uplift, to bring about a brighter future.

There is perhaps no greater embodiment of hope for the future today than the figure of Barack Obama, who will attend his inauguration and become the 44th president of the United States before the sun has set. For millions of Americans and the people of distant nations all around the world, the inauguration marks a new devotion to peace and prosperity, as well as big hopes for the years to come. Through the past eight years, the United States has seen war, aggression, several domestic tragedies, financial upheaval, and an administrative show of disdain for many of those values that Americans and their friends abroad hold dear. But though the events themselves, as well as the rapidly growing discontent with the government and the image of the people projected by its policies, may have threatened the collective will to reinvent and reconsider, they stand today as obstacles inviting the country to forge a new path.

Many people are counting on the new president to follow through with those initiatives and policy changes that affect them most. Some may be awaiting the return of a loved one from military service in Iraq, celebrating Obama’s commitment to a swift and gracious homecoming for U.S. troops. Others are concerned about the state of the environment and how we regulate our interaction with it, ringing in the inauguration with visions of green technology and a greater devotion to ecological living. Still others eagerly anticipate the refinement of health care, trusting that a new administration will work hard to deliver its ideals of universal care in ways that will improve and empower their lives. From the small towns and metropolises of America to the most poverty-stricken places on Earth and the intellectual centers of Europe and Asia, dreams await their realization, and hardships taste their end. Though there are innumerable wishes and personal victories being uttered in homes across the nation and the globe today in tandem with Obama’s inauguration, they all represent our innermost attribute, timeless and immortal: hope.

United in dreams of a better future, and in our determination to help create a happier and more prosperous world, American citizens and human beings from every nation have come together to witness the change in presidency and experience the beginning of what promises to be a new and joyous era. With hope in our hearts and a vast hunger for understanding, knowledge, patience, and brotherhood, we make our way toward a world where children can be happy and free, elders can be healthy and at peace, and adults can work with and respect one another. And though these goals may be lofty, though they may need many years or even decades to accomplish, and though the new American president may not fulfill every promise or realize every goal, our hope tells us that all we truly need to make it happen is precisely what we know, today, we have: the opportunity.

© Copyright 2009 by Noah Rubinstein. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

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