Hope and faith are emotions that constantly straddle a thin line between the rational and the irrational. I hope for some things that are likely to happen based on the past, and sometimes I hope for things that have no basis in evidence in the past or present. I hope for some things that I can somewhat reasonably expect can happen and sometimes for things that are nearly impossible.
For example, at the end of every trial I hope that I have done enough to persuade a jury in favor of my clients. It is a reasonable hope, because far more often than not the verdict has been in their favor and I always try to do my best. There have been times over the years where hope for a verdict turned out to be terribly unfounded – there was no chance of winning over some juror(s) no matter what the evidence was or how I presented it. Still, it is a hope for an outcome that I can control to some extent, and rooted in the larger hope for a just society.
Politics is an arena where I (we) have little control and dwindling hope. When I consider the current politics in Washington, I have to confess that my hopes are much less rational. I know historically, our Nation has survived more challenging times. In the words of Winston Churchill “The Americans always do the right thing… after everything else fails.” Yet I have this persistent feeling that we lack the leadership we need to weather this economic and cultural storm. Sure the system itself has been so perverted with money that it has become a rare instance when the welfare of Americans in need are considered, but what is to prevent President Obama from exercising leadership? He could present a budget that would correct the problem with entitlements, even if it were to adopt Simpson-Bowles. I think most Americans would accept sacrifice if we knew it was a shared sacrifice. I hope that he will become the leader he needs to be.
On the other hand, I am grateful that the GOP lacks any leadership at the moment, and hopeful that this will continue. The Republicans are battling a malignancy that could very well kill it (i.e. the Tea Party). They are rooted in the irrational (they are anti-science for a reason) and driven by the illogical. The problem is that as they dither and wither, so does our economy because they cannot act for the good of the Country. If they use the debt ceiling as a hostage tool again, we may be suffering a great deal more until the next Congressional elections – when the GOP will experience its electoral death knell – I hope.