Rebel Art Fridays: Don’t Let the Light Go Out.

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For the past few weeks, Mrs. has been digging up great, old holiday songs – songs that capture the complicated, often dark wonder of the Christmas season.

One that has particularly spoken to us is the Peter, Paul and Mary song, “Light One Candle,” and ode to the history celebrated by Chanuka, and a bit of old-fashioned, unabashed pacifism written during the heart of a brutal Israel-Lebanon war.

As anyone who has spent more than a few minutes on this blog knows, I am not a particularly optimistic fellow in these dark times. And to be honest, believe it or not, most of the time I’m holding back.

So much of what I’ve written these past few years has been a variation of the same theme: to cling to false hope is to deceive ourselves into complacency, and, to paraphrase Mr. Yarrow, to “let the light go out” without even mustering a fight.

But there’s a difference between clinging to false hope, and abandoning hope altogether.

False hope, false composure, is a pacifier, it stifles and snuffs out passion and resistance, and it tends to do so when those things are needed most.

False hope is, at its core, wishful thinking: Bob Mueller has the goods, we’ll be fine; Nancy Pelosi is a badass, we’ll be fine; this is America … we’ll be fine.

When we engage in false hope, we are wishing for a savior, for someone or something to swoop in and spare us from the fight.

Real hope recognizes that,  in times like these, the fight is all we’ve got; that as long as we’re in the fight – as long as we’re throwing punches, no matter how tough the odds – we can win.

I can’t promise that will be a happy place over the next year, but then I can’t promise America will be a happy place either.

Yet for all my pessimism, I do carry a considerable amount of real hope – not that we will defeat Trumpism, but that with enough work, with enough sacrifice, we can.  And while I can’t promise lilies and sunshine, I am committed to trying to tap into that sense of real hope on this silly blog in 2020.

Until then, don’t let the light go out.


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