What do you think of the statement above? The idea that hopelessness is the enemy of justice was shared with me in the context of a spiritual guidance session a few months ago. It’s stuck with me, and I decided it was time to reflect on it further with you this week.
There’s a lot happening in America and around the world that could lead us to feel hopeless. The fires, floods, and rising seawaters resulting from our climate crisis could make us feel hopeless, especially since lowering global carbon emissions seems so far out of our individual control. I’ve been hearing from many women who are angry and frustrated at the new Texas anti-abortion law, which gives freedom to vigilantes but takes away so much freedom from women to make their own choices about their bodies. I’m feeling pretty hopeless about the many voter-restriction bills wending their way through state legislatures, including my own.
As I’ve noted recently, partisan political power has become more important than other elements of culture (such as economic interests) in America today. On the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, commentators have noted that if something similar were to happen today, we wouldn’t gather together in unity because Americans have become so much more divided in recent years. I would agree; something similar has happened—a global pandemic—and it has only driven us further apart.
I think hopelessness is the enemy of justice because it causes us to give up working for change. Without hope, we become apathetic. That will not help anyone, especially our grandchildren, who will inherit the mess we have made of planet Earth.
So where do we find hope in America today? One place is on the map heading the article linked in my sentence above about the “many voter-restriction bills.” It turns out that while nine states have restricted voter access, seventeen have expanded it. This is encouraging—though it also points out how different our experience can be of living in these United States, which are becoming less and less “united.” It makes me miss living in New Mexico, where voter access was expanded.
So please do not give up hope. Justice will not happen if we give in to hopelessness. Instead, we must find ways to make a difference, one day at a time—and pray as if our lives and freedoms depend on it, because they do.
How can you work for justice this week, and encourage others to do the same?