Category Archives: Hope

Hope hurts

A few years ago, I remember inviting my cousin David over to watch a soccer match at my place. I was a bit surprised by his response. He told me that he had quit sport because his heart couldn’t handle it. The disappointment was just too much.

At first I thought he was joking, but true to his word, David just doesn’t watch any sport, at all. Because he is wholehearted in everything he does, his decision is his chosen form of self preservation. And though it might be a little extreme, there are times I think he’s onto something.

I stayed up until 2 in the morning following how things were going in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont. There have been so many twists and turns to this race, I was hoping that Obama would just win the thing outright and give my frayed nerves a rest. As I’m sure you all know by now, it didn’t happen.

Although I don’t like how she did it, you’ve got to give it to Hillary. Her ability to roll up her sleeves and just street fight is amazing. She isn’t shy to get in there and get nasty if need be. I guess that’s her appeal – she’ll do what it takes to get the job done. You have to be impressed by her.

On the other hand, Barack Hussein Obama has come a long way. The fact that he leads in the pledged delegates count is incredible given the obstacles and set backs he has faced. And he can still pull it off. Having read Dreams from My Father, I don’t think long drawn out fights are new to him.

Truth is, most of my disappointment is about me, not Obama. It’s just another thing that I want that I have to wait for. I think that’s what’s really getting to me. This is another emotional rollercoaster for me. Worse still, I have no influence over it. All I can do is wait and hope. I’ve been doing more of both lately than I would prefer.

Oh well. At least Arsenal beat AC Milan in the Champions League last night. Like Barack, they’re one step closer to the title.

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Wanted: rebels with a cause (as well as web designers, developers, writers, artists and more)

Reading an article about Michael D. Eisner in the New York Times got me thinking. He left Disney in 2005 and started up a business in new media. I want to do something similar.

One of my greatest passions is that for social justice. Call me naïve, but I just don’t get why things aren’t more equitable in the world. Take Ireland for example. If I’m not mistaken, there are more millionaires here per capita than in the rest of the world. But there are so many really poor people. There are lots of places, especially in rural areas where people don’t yet have indoor toilets. There are also huge social issues in inner city areas like North Dublin and Limerick.

Closer to my heart is the plight of a lot of the African continent. Contrary to public opinion, your typical African dictator is probably no more corrupt than your average Western leader. He just lacks finesse in his dealings and his country doesn’t have the infrastructure or money to support the same levels of self-centred greed that are displayed by a good number of Western leaders.

In any case, I don’t just want to be a person who complains and criticises the way things are. I want to change them. And in my opinion, the best way to effect real change is by mobilising everyday, ordinary people. Again, in my opinion, the best way to do that is through the media. When I was young, I decided what clothes were cool to wear based on what I saw on TV. I would like to claim that now that I’m an adult, I make my own mind. The reality though is that most of us still take our cues from the media – be it mainstream or alternative.

With all that in mind, I want to start a web based business at whose core is the desire to see social justice. I think that initially it should take the form of magazine – or something similar to bring about awareness, and then grow out of that.

Where I come from, if you wait on the government to change or fix things, you typically wait a very long time; more often than not in vain. That and I want to see things change.

If you would like to get involved, get in touch. I’m especially looking for:

·         Artist and photographers

·         Writes

·         Web designers and developers

·         Software guys

·         People who are genuinely excited and passionate about doing the things I’ve just written about

Hope

I know I’m in danger of being carried away, but I can’t help it. When I get hooked, I usually get hooked good and proper!

I’m currently reading Dreams from my Father and it has had a huge impact on me. I read it because I wanted to make sure that Barack Obama was authentic because he was making such a big impact on me. The more I read, the more I want to be like the man and the more inspired I get.

I found these videos on youtube. If they don’t move you, you’re made of sterner stuff than I am. Enjoy.

Against the Status Quo

My brother-in-law, K., and I disagree on most things. This weekend’s topic was Barack Obama. AS far as K. is concerned, Obama is nothing more than hot air. He acknowledges the fact that Barack is an incredibly motivating speaker, but as far as he’s concerned there is no evidence that he has any substance. Hillary on the other hand was in the White House when her husband was president, and since Bill was a good president, K. is happy to assume that Hillary will also do a good job. None of this is unreasonable really, so why am disappointed (again) in K.?

 

I hate the assumption that enthusiasm and excitement are for the naive whereas the dull, serious demeanour of Hillary signal depth and competence. People are so sceptical it’s sad! Many of those who don’t support Obama are instinctively repelled by his message of because they feel it’s too good to be true. We’ve been conditioned to keep our expectations low and not too hope for too much. To borrow Barack’s words, we’ve got used to doing the same old things the same old way we don’t believe things could be different. Like caged birds that don’t realise that there’s an open hatch or have just become comfortable with the cage they know. It breaks my heart.

 

It’s not just about Obama. If you have genuine issues with what he stands for, don’t support him. It’s about everything. There’s just such a general poverty of hope everywhere. There’s a reluctance to question the status quo and dare to do things differently. Fear, self interest and the desire for conformity and acceptance have shackled us.

 

Why isn’t the world a better place? Most of us won’t dare stand out. Like K., we’re willing to sacrifice our dreams for the familiarity of the status quo.

Why not?

I’ve listened to Will.I.am’s song over and over again. I can’t help but be inspired. I can’t help but feel that I’ve stumbled on a profound truth. As I continue listening to Obama’s words, I find myself believing him. Why not? Why can’t there be change? Why can’t Zimbabwe come right? Why can’t the violence of Darfur stop? Why can’t Odinga and Kibaki come to their senses? Why not? Why shouldn’t Ireland’s alcohol and drug culture be replaced by something wholesome?

Do me a favour. Play the song. Read the lyrics below. Allow yourself to believe. And then start to think about what you are going to change. 

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation. Yes we can.It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics…they will only grow louder and more dissonant……….. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea —

Yes. We. Can.”