A Question of Hope

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Learning our return flight had been delayed again  – “delayed” being an euphemism for “don’t hold your breath” – I started hearing the strands of a Sinatra tune, “Come fly with me!  Let’s fly, let’s fly away!” Ah, the 1950’s… and now? Too much pent up demand due to COVID-19, too many people trying to go to too many places, and too few pilots and staff to take you there… and back again.

Fortunately, we’ve been away visiting family in early summer where the living is easy – grateful for not being stuck in a hotel or airport somewhere.

But now, according to the popular blog, Vlogbrothers, there’s a new reality to despair about: “the Sad Gap.”

This is where “our outrage meets up with our hopefulness.” The brothers maintain that social media content is deliberately unrelenting in its volume – providing oversimplified solutions in a superficial manner. These sites are often run by unscrupulous actors for their own hidden profit or political agenda – leaving us lost to any meaningful dialogue.

That’s because it would take too much work, on our part, to go deeper on every complex subject: for example rising autocracies, homelessness, etc. But, they warn, unless we dig beneath the surface, we’re always going to be on the edge of hope. The Vlogbrothers say the key out of the Sad Gap’s depressing state is to: prioritize your energies, become well read and informed, and personally engage with others.

“Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took”  – Wonderful World by Sam Cooke

From my experience, that includes considering both the macro and micro views for both context and understanding.

Canada: a 2022 macro view:

As a current example, a British poll of 10,000 Canadians found most citizens including young people (18-24) and those over 65 felt that Canada is a better place to live today than 30 years ago. We’re more hopeful, agreeable, empathic, proud and trusting of our own democracy and national identity… less fractured than the U.S. (National Post)

Canada: a 2022 micro view:

Canada has had many medical discoveries and innovations, including: Insulin, open heart surgery, the pacemaker, transplant-able stem cells, and much more.

Now, a grade 12 student, who plans to study Bio-Medical Engineering at Canada’s Western university, has come up with a cardio marker test that can reduce the wait times from one hour to five minutes – giving doctors more diagnostic time to save more lives. The cost? $1.

But, what’s truly remarkable about this young man is his passion for service. He wants to bring about positive change in the world; humbly saying it’s his generation that will come up with future solutions to the world’s problems. For him, it’s about helping others.

“But I do know one and one is two
And if this one could be with you
What a wonderful world this would be” Wonderful World by Sam Cooke

What kind of measured passion do we want to emulate? Maybe we can look to our world leaders – past and present.

In the 1960s, President John F Kennedy encouraged youth to contribute in some way to the public good saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. If it’s not about what you take out, isn’t it  about what you put in? More urgent now than ever… it’s a question of hope.

That’s the way I figure it. – FP


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