In the days after the election, I read (and re-read many times) a short but poignant essay in the New Yorker responding to Trump’s victory by one of my favorite authors, Junot Díaz. In it he wrote:
“But all the fighting in the world will not help us if we do not also hope. What I’m trying to cultivate is not blind optimism but what the philosopher Jonathan Lear calls radical hope. ‘What makes this hope radical,’ Lear writes, ‘is that it is directed toward a future goodness that transcends the current ability to understand what it is.’ Radical hope is not so much something you have but something you practice; it demands flexibility, openness, and what Lear describes as ‘imaginative excellence.’ Radical hope is our best weapon against despair, even when despair seems justifiable; it makes the survival of the end of your world possible.”
His piece was of course written in a very different context, but I believe this concept is transcendent and beautifully puts to words the type of hope I also speak of. Not just in parenting, but in all areas of life where I have an unwavering belief in the importance of a different future. And right now, there are many. I think it’s critically important as we all look to 2017 that we hold on to our ambitious goals in the face of our tragedies, make new ones with passion, and then fight alongside radical hope to get there. There have been many, many times in our hope to be parents where despair was justifiable, but we have survived the end of our world and continue to fight simply because we refuse to lose hope.