Are you having a "Hopeover"?

I am. I am having what Naomi Klein calls a Hopeover in her essay A Lexicon of Disappointment in the May 4 issue of The Nation.  I loved and was inspired by what some called President Obama’s “hope-based missional narrative” during his campaign.  I still think he was the best option available – who had a chance to win – in last year’s election, and I’m still happy to have supported and voted for him. But I am having a hopeover.

Hopeover. Like a hangover, a hopeover comes from having overindulged in something that felt good at the time but wasn’t really all that healthy, leading to feelings of remorse, even shame. It’s the political equivalent of the crash after a sugar high. Sample sentence: “When I listened to Obama’s economic speech my heart soared. But then, when I tried to tell a friend about his plans for the millions of layoffs and foreclosures, I found myself saying nothing at all. I’ve got a serious hopeover.”

I am not ashamed to have supported or voted for Obama.  Yet, I am waiting on some of the big difference to come through from his predecessor. Prosecuting the Bush administration for torture, real health care reform (maybe even national health care or steps in that direction), steps away from the financial system that caused the current fiscal mess.

As a minister, I am not quite as cynical as Klein seems to be in tone about the hopeover because I think the “hope-based missional narrative” has a power of its own to generate the real work that needs to be done.  Inspiration drives the perspiration.  Or as Klein quotes Political scientist Sam Gindin, “Being realistic means taking hope out of speeches,” he wrote, “and putting it in the hands of workers.”

Which brings me to the final entry in the lexicon.

Hoperoots. Sample sentence: “It’s time to stop waiting for hope to be handed down, and start pushing it up, from the hoperoots.

Eventually we all must be the change we want to see in the world, as Gandhi taught.  Obama has preached this too and ultimately that’s why I haven’t given up hope yet, although I have been taking some Advil, vitamins, and drinking water.

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