Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Viewing the World From the Ground-Up

Chris Johnson writes in "Restoring Hope: Viewing the World From the Ground-Up":
I was reminded of a quote that I once heard from folk musician and activist Utah Phillips during a 2004 interview. In that interview Phillips said:

If I look at it [the world] from the top down, I get seriously depressed. The world’s going to hell in a wheelbarrow. But if I walk out the door, turn all that off, and go with the people, whatever town I’m in, who are doing the real work down at the street level, like I said, there’s too many good people doing too many good things for me to let myself be pessimistic about that. I’m hopeful, can’t live without hope. Can you?

As I was standing there today watching an elderly couple struggling to climb the stairs to get into the BOE, as I watched that little boy ask his mom questions about voting, as I watched a blind woman receive her ballot, I felt hope. I felt the hope of an active citizenry cut through all the sound bytes and negative ads and permeate through the racism and hatred of this campaign. I, like Utah Phillips, was forced to view things from the ground up and it gave me hope in what a unified people and in what an active citizenry can do. This hope and faith in people is important in times like these when we live in a world that bombards us with media sound bytes, sensational news stories, and views from the top; it is enough to make anyone pessimistic about the direction that we are headed. It is during those times, when the negativity is driving us to the point of insanity, that it is so important to take a step back and view the world from the bottom up. . . .

Read the rest at Common Dreams, an essay written for the Cincinnati Beacon.


sharecropper said...

Klady, I agree with you about viewing the world from the bottom up, but in that bottom I also see my goddaughter, who would never have had children had she known there was a history of mental illness, struggling with two mentally ill youngsters and an EMR 13 year old - going from church to church to have enough food, keeping the thermostat set at 60 because fuel oil is so costly. I see friends who cannot get health care because they make just a bit too much money for medicaid and the disability system is trying to wait them out. I see my own health insurance premium taking 20% of my income and the deductible and copay eating up another 10%.

Yet, we do go on. My goddaughter spent some of her food money to buy a share in the Heifer Project. My friends without health care are very active with sponsoring new people in a 12 step program. I knit baby hats and smile at people a lot.

The despair has trickled down to the bottom, but hope has not left us.

klady said...

Yes, it is remarkable to see hope and generosity among those who are struggling the most. Sounds like your goddaughter exemplifies that. I am so sorry she has so much to bear herself.