Things Are Better. I Have Hope.

I’m a southerner, but not like a deep-South southerner. I am from a small city of 300,000- small by city standards. I don’t think you can be deep South without being from somewhere off the beaten path. We had a presidential debate one election year for goodness sake. If you are not from south of the Mason-Dixon line you might think that it’s all the same down here. It’s not. North Carolina and Tennessee might find itself with much in common but Mississippi and Louisiana really have their own South as well as their own state cultures. Florida and Texas are both unique personalities onto themselves and yet still southern.

Sometimes I forget all of this, the intricacies of my part of the world. Last night I happened to turn on NPR’s Marketplace and listened to a story on Philadelphia, Mississippi, a place I have never heard of even though it is where three civil rights workers were killed in 1964. The movie “Mississippi Burning” was inspired by the events there. The story discussed racism and economic disparities in the area. It shared viewpoints of residents both young and old. An eighteen-year old contemplated whether she’d come back home after college. A businesswoman discussed the responsibility that comes with freedom. The thing that stuck with me most was the mayor who said, “Things are better. I have hope.” One statement doesn’t go without the other. Things may have gotten better but it’s not enough so we must have hope. We’re not there yet. We must have hope.

It’s not easy to have hope in today’s fast-paced world. We don’t just hear about every tragedy, we hear about it seconds after it happens and we watch firsthand footage. Forget eyewitness accounts. Who needs those? We have cell phone cameras. Stories are received pieces at a time, but we have not learned patience nor forgiveness nor listening to others. Did we ever listen to others? Blogger friend Christine Hennessey recently wrote a post “Listening and Learning” which really resonated with me. She wrote about keeping quiet having spent her time trying-

… to understand the world we’re living in and how to make it better.
I don’t have any answers yet. I suspect it will be a while before any of us do, and that a lot more terrible things will happen before the good stuff makes a comeback. In the meantime, I will keep learning, keep listening, keep trying.
With each day’s news story, I have felt myself shut down a little. I want to retreat from the world. But I live here. I live on this street, in this town, in this state, in this country, in this world. This is as much my community as anyone else’s and I know it is also my responsibility to be an active, positive member. What right do I have to complain or retreat if I don’t also participate?
Each day is a new day and a new opportunity.
Things are better. I have hope.

3 thoughts on “Things Are Better. I Have Hope.

  1. Well put. This is why we need a President who is not spewing hate 24/7 like Trump. We need to tear down walls, not build them, and focus on love and progressing together as a people, rather than hate and discrimination against women, minorities, LGBTQ, and non-Christians.

    My husband is from Australia where voting is compulsory, and because of that, 95% vote in the elections. Here it’s usually <50%. Scary how many refuse or are too lazy to use their voices. Here in Oregon all voting is by mail – i wish they'd make that mandatory for all states so there are no more lines, etc!

    • All voting is by mail? Wow! I have such awesome memories of going to the polls with my parents though and them explaining the importance of what we were doing. I hate the lines but I do really love actually going to vote. And when there are lines you feel like everyone’s out and doing it. I remember that about Australians having compulsory voting. I wish we had that. People don’t understand the importance of their vote. I wish more felt compelled.

      • Yeah it’s fun to go vote but in so many places people have to wait hours to vote in our country and here you can always drop your ballot off at special locations if you don’t want to mail it in… ultimately it’s increased voter turnout to one of the highest in the nation!

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