By Rita Kipp, retired academic and hopeful redistricting reformer
Indivisible: OH 12 East, especially its Fair Districts=Fair Elections petition drive, and Strong Voices Rising, a local group of mostly women supporting various causes, gave direction to my new activist impulses. More recently I have joined with others to revive the moribund League of Women Voters of Licking County.
Through this transformative journey of the last several months, Hope in the Dark was my motivational beacon.
Solnit argues that taking action requires that we hope. What is more, it builds hope. The hopeless do not act. There is good reason for hope, she says, even when the outcome looks most bleak. This is because the future – and the assumption that it is bleak – are not knowable.
With the campaign for Fair Districts pushing on, and as we dig ever more deeply within ourselves to tap reserves of courage and energy, I offer this paragraph from Hope in the Dark as inspiration to all volunteers and activists:
"Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes – you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all the fine without involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone."
Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2016), Foreword to the Third Edition, page xv.