Optimism is Informed Hope

Since the evening of November 3, I’ve been scared. No, it’s not the pandemic raging through the United States like a runaway freight train. No, it’s not the fact I was exposed to COVID-19 and two days later my sweet wife and I came down with cold symptoms. No, it’s not the fact I’ve been sleeping alone in my basement since developing those cold symptoms. To clarify, when my head is stuffy and my snoring rattles the rafters, I sleep in the guestroom. It’s one way my wife and I maintain our deep and abiding love for each other. To the first point, honestly, I’m just plain scared of Donald J. Trump – the man who declared “I WON!” even before all the votes had been counted on U.S. election day. 

I’m not easily scared. I’ve had death threats, lived through typhoons and earthquakes, been lost in the forest, and even watched the Friday the 13th horror movies without flinching! But Donald J. has an effect on me. It’s not fear like Dracula tapping on my window at midnight or Sasquatch reaching into my tent during a campout. It goes deeper than that. 

When I was a little kid growing up in Idaho, there were days I was scared of my own shadow. I’m sure some people referred to me as that ‘timid, shy kid who doesn’t say much.’ I wasn’t weird. I was just a deep thinker; I was contemplative! Deep thinking leads to concern and concern often leads to fear. I feared things like my parents splitting up, bears and bigfoot coming into my room at night, and being lost in the forest. Fortunately, I made it to adulthood by only having one of those fears become reality. I got lost in the forest one day when I was eight-years-old – 100 yards from camp. That wasn’t one of my most stellar moments. 

But I digress. Move forward nearly 50 years and the landscape has changed a bit. Not much scares me anymore. I’ve faced down all my demons and called them out. They leave me alone now. But I am still contemplative – that super power is still alive and well. And thinking fills my mind with a number of ‘what-if’ scenarios. Like, for example, what if Donald J. decides not to vacate the White House? What if Donald J. creates a hostile U.S. environment before leaving office as a form of sabotage to dump on Biden? What if Donald J. stirs up his base to believe that the U.S. election mechanisms can’t be trusted? What if Donald J. declares himself the winner of the 2020 election when he is not, in fact, the winner? 

Well, you see Donald J. has seen to it that all my concerns came to fruition. It’s like magic! He couldn’t have done it more precisely if I would’ve sent him a list! You see, this list was made long before the election on 11/3/2020. I could see the writing on the wall clear back in 2016 when Donald J. threw a fit because someone made fun of him for losing the popular vote. He ordered a team to investigate the count and root out the fraud. But there was no fraud. Donald J. did in fact lose the popular vote. The team came back empty-handed. But in that act, he set a precedent that I decided to remember. His narcissism was speaking for him; narcissists hate to lose. Sure enough, even before election day 2020, Trump was calling fraud. While votes were still being counted, he declared himself the winner. 

It’s hard to sit in my office each day and concentrate on work when I feel the quivering and quaking of the fibers of our great nation as they tremble under the weight of Trump and his crowd. Yeah, that’s what scares me. And no, I don’t believe in widespread voter fraud in the United States. But Trump wants me to believe it. He has already convinced a good number of his groupies. And that number is enough to weaken the domestic and international trust in our democratic election process. Be afraid; be very afraid.

But I am optimistic. I can’t help it; it’s how I am. And that optimism is not just blind hope. It is based largely on a trust in the U.S. government system of checks and balances, strong traditions, and the faith I have in people like me to see through the horse feces.

Published by Jeff Hicks

I am a podcaster and author working and living in the Western United States.

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