104 Comments
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

In some things, I am driven by fear - of not being enough, not doing enough, not giving enough to help my family. But most of the time I'm driven by a combination of hope and fury: hope that our nation will right itself away from a tin-can tyrant when enough people open their eyes, and absolute fury that enough people chose willful ignorance over their duty to be an informed citizen that they gleefully swallow the con hook, line, and - sneaker.

On a personal level, I have always chosen hope. Hope pushed me to choose a male-dominated career where I excelled, allowed me to retire after forty years in practice, and most of all, made me determined to beat cancer twice and hike in the Canadian Rockies with my son only two months post major surgery. Hope fuels determination.

Expand full comment

Oh just love how you got that "sneaker" in!

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Normally I am an optimist driven by hope. I have become much more fear-driven. Trumpism and everything that goes with it terrifies me, b/c it has been so hard to stop him. I can hardly believe there is a good chance he may regain the White House.

Expand full comment

I’m right there with you. I’m terrified, my grown kid is scared, and the things I grasp at keep falling the wrong way. Our justice system cannot stop Trump (so far) and he seems rolling toward the White House again. I don’t feel safe among people who idolize him. It’s painful to see so much hate. I do have hope, but I can’t ignore where the current path is taking us and the disappointment feels overwhelming.

Expand full comment
founding
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Since fear sells, it's no surprise much of the media has joined Trump in his Be Afraid America campaign.

What is a surprise is how openly certain judges are running interference for Trump, further legitimatizing his bid for dictatorship. This takes the fear down to the pit of my stomach where it vibrates like an over-mic'd bass.

Expand full comment

Be Afraid America... BAA, like the sheep who follow him bleat. Brilliant!

Expand full comment

I am there with you, ML. I now realize that our justice system cannot, and will not stop him because much of it is bought. I had no idea how deeply ingrained the billionaires have become infused with our judicial system. BUY A JUDGE…It’s happening real time right here in our San Francisco Superior Court Judge elections at this very moment. I am more sad than anything else. I have my crowbar and bullhorn and am ready for the coming chaos…

Expand full comment
founding

So agree with everything you said!

Expand full comment

Ditto.

Expand full comment
Mar 2·edited Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

If I’m being honest, I think I vacillate between being ANGRY and being hopeful… because so much of what’s going on right now isn’t necessary or unavoidable. It’s the result of an intentional campaign by certain parties to corrupt our systems and institutions and illegitimately gain power over the majority of us.

My sense of existential dread over this keeps building into a tremendous sense of injustice and anger, and that anger is a good fuel to push me to do more advocacy and volunteering than is my norm. I refuse to be beaten by selfish, myopic, arguably foolish liars, cheaters, and assholes.

Expand full comment

Anger is justifiable. It is an honest reaction to the evil that stalks us. It calms our fear and focusses our attention. It is that focus that provides confidence, and in turn, gives us hope. It is a struggle for me also, and the feeling of not doing enough is everpresent. Our sense of community gives us strength.

Expand full comment
founding

Love this vibe!

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

About 51% hope and 49% fear. I tend to be the type of person who views life as half full but it’s hard not to be worried. That said, I also feel more galvanized because of recent SCOTUS decision to take on Trump’s immunity. It’s kinda like the way I felt about the first Women’s March in 2017, except this time we won’t let him back in again. I do believe we will win in November. We just have to put the hard work in to get it done.

Expand full comment

That's about where I am Christine. I go back and forth. I was very disappointed after the SCOTUS news but his money situation is dire and so is the RNC's. Plus with the trial coming up things aren't looking too great right now for Trump. That gives me a lot more hope. I truly believe the tide is finally finally turning.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

My grandfather left Hungary in the early 1900's, a Jew hoping for a better life in America. Worked for 10 years to bring his wife and children here. I have to hope because I am not going to let him down.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

I live in hope for a better tomorrow. I feel that the MAGA cult lives in fear of things that the GOP promotes that are actually lies.

Vote Blue for democracy, decency and dignity.

Expand full comment

Hi Steven: As usual, this post is excellent and well worded. However, I have found that those who are driven by fear are the vast majority of Republicans and not the Democrats who believe in a better country and hope for an improved future. These Republicans appear to not read Substack posts, but stick with messaging on Quora Digest where today's topic for discussion is titled "If Trump is 6.3", why is Barron Towering Over him?"

Personally, I am somewhere in the middle between "hope" and "fear". I hope that Biden wins by a landslide and Trump is convicted on just one or two of the 91 criminal charges against him, and then lands in prison or is sent to the Siberian Gulag where Navalny was murdered. My fear, is that Trump wins and our system of government dies. I have lived for nearly 20 years in dictator-led and communist governments. I knew that at any time and for any made-up reason I could be killed or arrested. I escaped Turkmenistan only one day prior to my arrest for holding Christian meetings in a Muslim country - a total lie.

Trump's strings are 100% pulled by Putin - a ruthless dictator who wants revenge on the United States because he blames us for the downfall of the Soviet Union. His number one tool for this destruction is Donald Trump.

Trump declared bankruptcy four times and desperately needs cash to support his lavish lifestyle. He had been visiting Russia often in the 1990's when I was there and visited the Beverly Hills joint venture (JV) during their grand opening and many times afterward. This JV was a casino, night club and restaurant. It was famous for its corruption, naked women, and famous faces. My daughter Lize managed this JV. Trump's vile and immoral behavior was splashed all over the Russian press.

Russian banks, who are entirely managed and operated by the KGB/FSB give large sums of money to foreigners to (1) launder black cash into another country's economy, and (2) to bribe, entrap, and obligate the foreigner to Russia. In the Business Insider they quoted Trump Jr. as saying the Trump Organization had received large sums of money from Russian banks - he stupidly thought Russian banks operated like American banks. Eric Trump confirmed that $100 million of Trump's money came from Russia. (www.vanityfair.com)

If you have any doubt that Trump and his organization were obligated to Putin and Russia, then the fact that the "boys" openly admitted this should change your mind. Even writing about this truth instills fear in me that most of our countrymen and women do not understand the facts about Trump. This man has been convicted of rape and a sexual predator. He denies that the conviction for massive business fraud is realistic - even though there are business records, bank loans, and tax information that proves and supports this conviction. And this man has 91 criminal charges in 4 cases pending against him.

Putin has openly boasted that Trump will win the 2024 elections. What does he know that we do not? It was with Russian help that Trump won the 2016 election. Twelve Russians were arrested and convicted of election interference. Russia has admitted to this interference and said it will continue. This instills fear that the Russians have had eight years to perfect their election interference process. Could they be the deciding factor in this next election and not the overwhelming number of votes against Trump?

Biden has nearly 50 years public service experience. He has been able to flip the financial disaster left to him by Trump, and our economy is now functioning - the job market has been strong for about 44 months, the economy is stable, housing prices are up, inflation is down and with no signs of a recession. Biden is the best candidate for the Presidency no matter what his age. This gives me hope that as a nation, we will survive the Trump era.

Elizabeth

www.democrazy2020.org

Expand full comment

Excellent. I watched your interview on Global Connections and bought your book. If you have not already done so, you should post your comments on Mary Trump's substack and other places as well. Thanks for your info.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

May your hopes reflect your fears 😜 nelson Mandela

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

I am full of hope - that our nation will right itself and return to the democratic republic it once was. But I am also consumed with fear. Fear that the congress, Supreme Court, and federal courts have been so thoroughly co-opted by people whose only interest is in enriching themselves, grabbing as much power as possible and oppressing the citizens, that there is no way out. The millions and millions of their followers are trying their best to impose their religion into every aspect of our everyday life. They are trying to destroy our public schools, libraries, and worst, how and where we vote and WHO can vote. We must rally, get to the polls in numbers so overwhelming that there can be no debate about the results of this election. But I have hope.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Hope is the life force of optimism, a sense of purpose, expansion, and feelings of well-being. It is energizing, motivating, and akin to a runner's high in a marathon. Remember how we felt when Obama won the election?

Fear, in contrast, creates something we want to move away from quickly, at all cost. It creates anxiety, and knee-jerk, scattershot responses that quickly drain energy and momentum. We might succeed but the long-term effects wear us down so we're not operating at full capacity.

Hope and fear are both great motivators. Hope expands your world and fear constricts it.

Expand full comment

Heard it in real time, and have always been struck by JFK's "but because it is hard".

Love that courageous and inspiring American.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Hope

Always hope

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

I am totally driven by hope. Fear mongers create a determination to get fierce in opposing them because I value hope for the future.

Expand full comment
Mar 3Liked by Steven Beschloss

Terror! I have always suspected more from American Society. I am embarrassed to be so old and to now learn that we have a dictator in the making with a good chance of winning. It wrecks me. I have grown children and grandchildren, and my heart aches that they may not live in the America that I did.our justice system has not been able to make him accountable for his incredible crimes. Further, it amazes me that intelligent, educated republican leaders can actually support this incompetent power greedy fool.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

I’m always hopeful, no matter how dire circumstances seem at any given moment. While the pendulum of political views has swung left to right over time, the US keeps moving forward, especially in regard to human rights. Sometimes we take one step back for every two steps forward, but our progress has been inexorable. Trump has been a test of democracy, not the end.

Expand full comment

Fear is such a negative emotion, such a hindrance to action. Hope says we can if we try, if we give our best efforts. I always admired Kennedy's saying that we'd do it because it was hard. And it was, but we did it. I try to be hopeful about things in life. It's too easy to give in to doubt and fear. I had a friend who said that she always expected the worst because she'd never be disappointed. I thought that was a sad way to live. I prefer to hope for the best, and accept disappointment if it comes.

Expand full comment
Mar 2·edited Mar 2

While I'm quite motivated by fear, it burns me out and I can't take the hair on fire messaging for too long without tuning out. Ultimately hope is the most enduring motivation for me.

Expand full comment

As I have often commented here - I am an optimist and I do believe that our country will survive this giant hiccup, probably the biggest since the Great Depression and all that that brought, and certainly not as big as the Civil War - but this is a big deal, and seems to be getting bigger. My hope lies in the fact that the results of elections relating to abortion, that have not been close, especially in red states, and that this and women's rights generally still, in my opinion. will not allow Trump to be elected. My fear is, however, even if Biden wins, will the dems win the House and Senate? My fear is that Biden may win, but if the House and Senate do not have the majorities required to get anything done, like court reform , voting rights, immigration. voting rights, not much will change. I guess that's a fear. I also fear that the MAGAs will feel empowered to try another overthrow when Trump loses. He has no chance to win the election as it stands, but what will the 30% of the country do in reaction to the loss? Violence? That has a better chance of happening, especially when he loses. Will law enforcement hold up enough to offset those in law enforcement who are MAGAs? Will the military old fast? Will National Guard units ignore federal orders, especially in states like Texas? Is anyone in Washington thinking about this. My fear is that they are not.

I am also very frustrated that I cannot do more. All the candidates want to hear from me is how much am I going to donate. They could care less as to what I would like to see, i.e., court reform. Now, because of AI, we cannot trust anything that is on the Internet or social media - nothing. Everything is driven by oligarchs like Elon Musk who could give a shit about our country and the rule of law. These oligarch assholes could care less about the rule of law, or leadership, or ethics, morality of the American way. They are greedy and have absolutely no regard for anyone but themselves.

So the answer is both hope and fear. How can it be any other way.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

I fit in with what many have said, fear driving us under certain circumstances, but have tried not falling into hope. Hope does not drive me to action. I prefer the word optimist. I can't say that feeling has not been under stress over the past 8 years, but one thing keeps rising to the surface. The majority of Americans are not mean, insensitive individuals. It is the minority who are terrorizing us. And I refuse to believe that my neighbors will accept fascism as the path for our nation. I remain optimistic!

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Steven your words are consistently HOPE

In In May 1961 I was about to graduate HS

John Kennedy was going to be the first president I would vote for… he gave us hope as you manage to do with every

Word he spoke but you write the words you speak!!! you manage to bless my

Life each day as I leave to do grief counseling and pastoral care at the

Hospice Hospital where I’ve volunteered

For thirty hours - forty hours a week your

Words are in my heart and before I retire at night I reread your message again 🙏

You are blessed with sincerity, wisdom,

Grace, kindness and love and personally

Trust You…Hope is what graces each day

My life is blessed with giving kindness

And being able to listen…thank you

For speaking truth to power, love,Marsha

Expand full comment

It's so wonderful to see you again, Marsha dear!

Expand full comment

Kathy thank you I’ve made ten trips to CO and four trips to CT .. just had two friends from Austria visit me in FL for three weeks …now resting

You’re a treasure to me✅Marsha

Expand full comment

HOW ON EARTH do you have the stamina to do all of that?!!! You are a truly amazing person!!! Sending much love, Kathy

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

I love this question and example. When Kennedy announced landing on the moon, no one had any idea where to begin the process, space suits, telecommunication, propulsion were so new. Yet, Congress forged ahead and funded NASA beginning one of the greatest achievements of government and private sector collaboration in the 20th century. When Armstrong stepped onto the moon, the world was watching and hoping for a safe return to earth for three American astronauts. This story encapsulates what hope is to me. Thank you for reminding us, Steven.

"We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes."

John F. Kennedy

"May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears."

Nelson Mandela

And my favorite: "Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay." Maya Angelou

Expand full comment
Mar 2·edited Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Sometimes after reading the news, I find myself in fear, mostly of November. (I'm really not afraid of much else. Even turning 80 shortly). But then I think: Like most democrats, I'm a believer that most Americans are decent people unless something drives them astray. I even think most TRUMPITES are in some aspects of their lives decent people--they'd help a neighbor (at least a correct colored one, now) or volunteer for some good work, and try not to cheat people, etc. ) What trumpites are is very VULNERABALE to fear mongering.

Emphasis on "most" in both cases. There do seem to be some remarkably selfish people, now sadly much congregated in leadership of the GOP. But I simply can't believe that they are in the majority.

We COULD end up with trump because of the tilt of the electoral college. That would be disaster. But on the popular vote, I think Biden will lead by millions more than he already has.

The only real way to survive the next few months is hope.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

On any given day, I'm driven by fear. I suspect this is both from training and from genetics. As a result, I tend to read posts from more optimistic people and have friends who are both more gregarious and more positive thinking than myself. However, I feel that my recent episodes of fear are stemming from threats and misinformation. Because I'm a hard worker, I fight fear by learning more, reading more, and working out what evidence exists that I can rely on. I feel very Churchill-like when I say to myself, "One must fight fear." That's what works for me and that's one reason I read your column.

Expand full comment
Mar 3Liked by Steven Beschloss

In the current political environment, I live in apprehension. I am increasingly sickened by what I see as massive failings in all of the "pillars" of our democracy. SCOTUS's recent failure to act is shocking. If things don't go well for Democrats in the 2024 election, we're all in big trouble.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Motivations are always conditional.

I've always considered myself a goal oriented person. Sometimes that goal is to improve conditions or prospects. Sometimes like Lewis Carroll's Red Queen, my goal is to run as fast as I can just to stay in place. Unfortunately, at times, the goal is to simply minimize damage. Sometimes it's hope of achieving those goals, sometimes it's fear of failure. Failure is nothing new to me. So far I've been able to overcome it, so it's less of a motivator.

Currently, I fear the consequences of the ultra-right's anti-democracy, pro-theocracy initiatives. They have had horrendous consequences and even worse potential.

Mixed with that, I see some very hopeful signs. The ultra-right appears to be in a mad dash to marginalize itself. Increasingly, people seem to be turning away from the fabrications and counterfeit promises of evangelical and ultra-right mysogynists. Coupled with that an increase in antipathy toward the manipulative and disingenuous reporting of many mass media outlets looks to be gaining momentum, albeit slowly.

In this country, 2024 presents an opportunity to move forward in a way seldom seen. President Biden offers a rare combination of competence, experience, knowledge, and relationships to move many things in a very positive direction. In addition, many younger, rising stars could gain strength and legislative allies. My representative, Marie Glusenkamp Perez comes immediately to mind with Maxwell Frost, Jasmine Crockett, and Ritchie Torres, following closely. There are many more including some we haven't heard of YET. My goal, now, is to do what I can to move their vision forward.

I suppose that makes me more motivated by hope.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

I’m driven by hope. Not that I haven’t had plenty of fear to deal with in my life, but overcoming it has been a major goal in my spiritual growth and healing. Ironically DJT has been a catalyst for that healing. Around 2016 my wife and I started listening to several psychics on YouTube whose primary purpose was assuring people that everything was going to work out for the best in the long run. All of them are now predicting that the White House and both houses of Congress will be under the control of the Democrats in 2025. It doesn’t matter to me whether anyone reading this thinks I’m foolish or into magical thinking. Hope by definition is based on the expectation that a favorable outcome is likely. It comes down to having faith in something or other. Even if I’m wrong and misguided, I’m having a happier 2024 than if I were living in fear. I’m really hopeful!

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Wow, those words by JFK stir my heart! If only our nation could reclaim that spirit. That's my greatest hope. My fear is that Trump and the GOP will quash those hopes if elected. Call it a deadlock if you want - I guess that's why the upcoming election will be so "pivotal."

Expand full comment
Mar 3Liked by Steven Beschloss

Terribly frightened, clinging to hope.

Expand full comment
Mar 3Liked by Steven Beschloss

Hope is the thing, the only thing, that will get us through all of the challenges we face. The 2024 election is a perfect example. I share the concerns of all who fear that Trump will return to the White House and desecrate our Constitutional Republic. But I have absolute faith in Americans that they will reject his hatred and vitriol, and embrace the hope for a free and prosperous future where tyranny recedes in the face of our strong resolve to defeat it.

The key to hope is the conviction that we will prevail. Enough of the hand-wringing and fear—if we believe it, we will achieve it. America is the native home of hope! Let’s get to work…

Expand full comment

Fear keeps us from going forward. Fear makes us hide in the dark rooms. Fear takes away our ability to hope. At the moment I am in fear. I no longer listen to MSNBC because it has become more negative about Biden.

My hope resides with the high school and college students who,although negative about politics, are looking for a future they can claim as real and honest.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Saddened, yet hopeful. Knowing that I have a U.S. family history stretching back to the 1750's helps make me "genetically" hopeful. Knowing preceding generations of ordinary people like me met the challenges of the Revolutionary, Civil, and World wars, economic depressions, deadly pandemics, and just generally living to work, play, and love another day gives me a hopeful perspective.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Hope or fear. That’s a primal question that, once answered, creates the framework, the paradigm through which we individually engage the world around us. Admittedly I’ve always been a self-proclaimed diehard idealist, a card-carrying optimist, even against all odds. My persistence has established a field of infinite possibilities, allowing me the freedom, the courage to continue when I falter and the flexibility of thought that whatever I can imagine, I can create.

I’m also a diehard Einstein fan. And this is one of my favorite Einstein quotes:

“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

― Albert Einstein

From this simple, yet profound question, we each have the ability to create a fundamental premise upon which we define our lives and how we experience it.

Another favorite Einstein quote: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”

Life itself is filled with the ineffable, mysteries, and unknowns, and in some ways that’s by design. It forces to seek for context and meaning, purpose, the miraculous, the sublime, the inexplicable grandeur of it all, leaving us in a heightened, knee-buckling silence. A loss for words, even in the face of tragedy and horror. Yet there’s a deeper state of knowing that the possibilities never end. At that razor’s edge, evolutionary openness, a willingness to expand and the reassurance that goodness always prevails. Otherwise we would have self-destructed long ago.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution." - Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein Quote: “Everything you can imagine, nature has already created.”

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Thanks for this article, Steven. I think that I, like most people, are driven by both hope and fear. I do have hope for the country right now but also have fear that trump will regain the White House and also that Trumpism may be an even longer lasting disease. Both fear and hope can be, as you aid so well, strong driving forces

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

I hope that we maintain our focus when it comes to exposing the manipulation of our elections by foreign and domestic terrorism this year. I fear we are still underestimating them. Vote Blue 💙

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Steven: Your frequent statements of Hope are lovely and helpful.

Prior to 2016 I embodied Hope!—-

These days, my Hope or Fear bounce back and forth across a ping-pong table in tune with mostly the decisions of the Judiciary system to hold Trump and his entourage of anti Democracy culprits accountable to our Laws, (HOPE), or contrarily, delaying or dismissing Justice, (Fear).—-

The decisions these days by our Judiciary processes, I feel impact the entire future of the entire planet politically, Humanistically, environmentally, and Life itself.—-

I say this because of the reliance other especially Democratic countries have on the US in many ways and I don’t mean just financially.—-

The actions of TYrump & his miscreants in the past few years have, in my opinion , demonstrated an all out multi-faceted attack on Democracy world-wide.—-

Remember Steve Bannon traveling the world meeting with far-Right leaders and groups? Remember Trump’s constant affection and praise for Dictators? Remember Trump visiting Netanyahu?—-

GAZA:

I can’t help but speculate Putin is the Puppet Master behind the curtain with tentacles stirring up conflict that also will incite the fires of conflict here.—-

Didn’t Putin say He could bring down the US without firing a shot?—-

Anyway, in spite of me feeling like a ping-pong ball, it is important to have Hope and work any way we can to save our country and our Democracy, our people, and the futures of our children.

Thank you. You have a gift. This was cathartic. “Sigh”

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

I choose hope! Fear is simply not an option. It causes harm and infects every good thing. Choose hope and watch the positive growth that occurs.

Expand full comment
Mar 2Liked by Steven Beschloss

Fear is the primary device used by would-be dictators to convince populations that they need the strong leader to protect them. Trump is a classic case with his assertions that "only I" can fill-in-the-blank. The dangers that arise out of leadership based on fear is that it produces hate, conflict, violence and potentially war. I do fear the fear mongers and their followers, because they are the enemies of the human spirit as well as our democracy.

I approach my life and my politics from a position of hope. Hope must be grounded in a strong sense of values but also of an equally strong attachment to tolerance. From this approach, the worst outcome is usually disappointment, but the best outcomes are the potentials for progress and peace.

Expand full comment

Hope....with a plan. Meaning, strategic planning and actions, no matter how small (many small drops make up the ocean). I donate to the good candidates who are actually hoping to be "public servants" rather than some kind of royalty! I do postcards, sharing of news and information on social platforms and with my personal contacts. Simon Rosenberg is my go-to source for accurate facts and strategies and we are, in fact, acting daily by the millions. THIS is what gives me hope.As Biden often says, "I believe in the American people". AND, speaking of JFK, HIS WORDS: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

Expand full comment
Mar 3Liked by Steven Beschloss

At this moment I am more driven by fear: fear that 45’s trials will be delayed which will result in the American people will not have the full story when they go to the polls in November, fear that 45 will actually win again because he is a convincing, albeit lying salesman who seems to know how to keep his cult believing his lies, fear that when he does win not only will we have a dictator on day 1 and who knows how many days thereafter, but that 45 will dismiss or have his AG dismiss all of the trials against him and his partners in alleged, though well documented crime, fear that 45 will continue to erode Democracy in our country and around the world, fear that because he is not, nor ever was , interested in governing and making America a better places and doing things to lift up the people , which is what every other president has tried to do, fear that he will distance himself from our allies and make us a less secure country, fear that he will erode Democracy around the world as he cozies up to his autocratic friends like Putin and Xi and the Saudi prince who killed the journalist. I don’t want to be driven by fear. My faith tradition is driven by hope. Even in the darkest days of the Holocaust, people remained hopeful while they suffered atrocities, hopeful that the Nazis would be defeated, that the groups who were subjected to the atrocities where many of them died, at least would have an opportunity to save some of their children who would build a new generation where justice and peace and democracy and honesty and kindness and caring would prevail. I am trying to cling to that hope that our country will get past the current state of negation that now exists and emerge stronger than before holding the values on which our country was founded, the values that made us the shining star on the hill. God Bless America 🇺🇸

Expand full comment

I'm all about hope, but we can't just sit around hoping everything is going to be alright. Action needs to stamp out fear with results that demonstrate accomplishment.

Expand full comment

Hope is foundational piece of the survival of humanity. Communities that share hope, survive.

Too few leaders share fear as a means to motivate their followers. It is a cheap, short term means to push people to give money, vote, to act.

It takes longer to cultivate a plan that holds out hope. The "hope holders" can sustain a vision and it can be maintained for generations.

The leader that stokes fear must continue to dip at the well of fear and it is exhausting to all but the leader! It is cheap, lazy leadership!

For me, I have seen the love, humanity and the good in people. Collectively we want to live in hope and I will always be drawn to religious, corporate and political leaders that hold out hope and vision!

Expand full comment

Well said: "...fear...is cheap and lazy leadership."

Expand full comment

This is not an either/or question. Some people will go to the polls hoping to elect a good man as President. Some people will go to the polls fearing that the other guy will be elected. It has always been the case that some people are motivated by carrots, while other people are motivated by sticks. In order to motivate others, we need to be aware of both, and adjust our arguments accordingly. As for myself, I will approach this year with both fear and hope.

Expand full comment

Agree with your last summary - people are motivated by both carrots and sticks, more one than the other at various points, and perhaps for different folks.

Expand full comment

I am very fearful in the public arena and very hopeful with my family and community. After JFK, Clinton and Obama are the only candidates that offered a vision of hopefulness, unity and a future with promise. I knew when Obama spoke the first time at the Democratic convention that he was going to be President. In fact, I immediately sent him a donation and put my name on his mailing list.

But the election of a Black man set off the accumulated hate and racism among White Americans. It sent sparks through Confederate worshippers and fringe groups. Guns and ammo sales skyrocketed.

In the decades since JFK was killed, it seems the nation’s attention has been focused on the here and now. Civil rights, voting obstacles, Watergate, the 9/11 attack, wars in the Middle East and Vietnam, violent protests, a pandemic that killed millions and damaged our economy, growing poverty, depressions and recessions, unrelenting gun violence, sexual abuse by priests and environmental realities.. . .

Trump’s shocking election felt like aliens came down and snatched millions of brains. Our only way out was through. The ignorance, hate and stomach turning narcissistic behavior created a national overpowering dread culminating in a treasonous and violent attack masterminded by Trump and his team of sycophants. Trump’s ignorance of how government works, with a unwillingness to learn and his propensity for criminal solutions fueled his desire to rule with a cruel hand.

Now, he’s a “seasoned leader” who’s been anointed “god’s appointed savior” by the biggest hate group since the Civil War. The evil orange one is like flypaper. He attracts everything nasty and they stick around until they die. His “cabinet” of evil includes the entire Republican Party, the Evangelical Nationalists, the worst of the worst advisors who attached to him in round 1, lawyers with ethical issues, ultra conservative political operatives, assorted butt-kissers, insurrectionists, social media and the depraved fascist, communist, authoritarian, dictators in the World.

But every evil empire needs money. The morbidly rich and politically powerful oligarchs are pulling the financial strings so they can release their repressive plans for a new and “improved” government built on a Christian dogma of winning at all costs and a desire to recreate the 50s.

For me, the above keeps me in a constant state of heightened anxiety. I am VOTING for Joe Biden, a good man who should be retiring and spending time with the grandkids. But his life of service means he cannot abandon the country he loves. I am not a religious person but I am praying to every god I can find,for a way out.

Expand full comment

As a Canadian I'm appalled and disheartened to see what has become of the USA since the illegitimate trump was presented on the political scene. I hope Americans will come to their senses and realize the ultimate CON perpetrated by him. He has stolen so much, not just money, but the integrity and respect for democracy your country had. To add to this dissolution, your SCOTUS has also been corrupted. I hope this election will be a return to the sanity that the world is waiting for. Whether fear or hope drive your citizens, they must hold on to their democracy!

Expand full comment

Reason and reality drive me, I like to think, but really I suppose it’s hope. Human history alternately encourages and disheartens, but its long arc produced Western liberalism, modern science, and the American Experiment. We still try in this nation of immigrants for freedom and justice for all.

More broadly, we know now finally and beyond reasonable doubt — with the mapping of the human genome — that extant humans form one single species. Racism is now a provably fabricated canard.

I am most hopeful in America that the actual people are quite a bit better than the Trumpist leaders who have floated to the top on a great tsunami of dishonesty and ill-gotten gain. In 2024, we will know for sure.

Register. And vote. Encourage others too.

Expand full comment

Like others here, I am personally driven more by hope than fear, which I suppose is a characteristic of liberals in general. The state of our union evokes both hope and fear in equal measures: fear of the rise of MAGA extremism and its attendant dangers, and hope that at least some of those following this unfortunate path of lies and deception will eventually come to the truth and embrace the benevolence and promise of America

Expand full comment

There are reasons that many people are legitimately afraid. The far right capitalizes on that by scaring them even more & convincing them that only the right even cares. The left is condescending when all it does is point to accomplishments. We need a Bernie Sanders style campaign telling great stories of hope backed by policy!

6:36

Post

Andrea Junker @Strandjunker

Wealth of Elon Musk

2012: $2,000,000,000

2024: $204,500,000,000

Wealth of Jeff Bezos

2012: $18,400,000,000

2024: $196,000,000,000

Wealth of Mark Zuckerberg

2012: $17,500,000,000

2024: $170,400,000,000

Federal Minimum Wage

2012: $7.25

2024: $7.25

Three words: tax the rich.

Post your reply

Follow

Expand full comment

In the marrow's marrow, a year whispers—a thread not through but within earth's very bones.

Are we drawn, are we pulled, more to dawn's first blush or to dusk's final sigh?

This question, it hovers, not over realms of light, nor under canopies of shadow,

But within the very heft, the very essence, we choose to cradle, to nurture, within our ribcaged keeps.

Hope, oh hope, it's a thing, isn't it? Feathered, yes, but oh so fierce, perching, no—residing, reigning in the caverns of the soul.

Does its song, bold and brazen, out-crescendo the wolfish howls clawing at the threshold?

And fear, oh fear, that sly, creeping vine, edging closer in the twilight of our dreams,

Do we feed it, do we foster it, or do we stand, shields raised, fires lit, guarding our innermost sanctums?

This year—oh, this year—the land itself holds its breath, eyes wide, as its progeny cast their fates, not with stars, but with the very fabric of night woven through their choices.

The nation, a vessel not just on but of a churning, roiling sea,

Is it to be steered, hands white-knuckled, grasping not just for horizon but for hope itself,

Or will eyes, dark-rimmed, stare, transfixed, into the abyss that whispers back?

Beneath us, the earth, ancient dancer, cycles through its seasons—thaw to freeze, bloom to barren,

Murmuring, no, speaking, of resilience, of seeds cradled in frost's embrace, dreaming of the sun's kiss, the warmth to come.

So, we stand, at the pivot, the axis, of this year,

Choosing, deciding, whether to tend the hopeful blooms daring to breach the cracks of our fears,

Or to let the vines, the thorns, the very essence of dread, entangle, ensnare, our dreams.

For it is not just the earth, in its eternal dance from shadow to light,

But the heart of a country, the soul of its people,

Driven, propelled, not just by whispers of hope or the echoes of fear,

But by the very turning, the very spinning, of the year.

Expand full comment

I like to think I’m positive and hopeful, but hearing people say they think Trump will win does strike fear in me. I try to vote for people who promote democracy and don’t tilt things in favor of corporations and the very rich. I live in a relatively liberal city in a reddish state, but even here we have some extreme right-wingers as state senators and representatives. I truly don’t understand why people vote for them, but maybe it is just fear.

Expand full comment

MAGA felons, fraudsters, Russian agents, distraction & lies. Trump wants our economy to fail & the border to be in chaos. The MAGA/GOP is willing to assist him, at the cost of our national security. #VoteBlue

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3uheq2kv3c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O61jkz0DDI&t=13s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq4QdQeyodU MAGA peddles Russian agent’s disinformation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogzxmUEvQdc

Expand full comment