By Ernie McCray
All I can think of since the birth of my granddaughter, Marley Mandela, is how she and her brother, Lyric, personify my hopes for a better world being born someday.
But I’m just a hopeful kind of being any old way, even considering all I’ve seen since I arrived on the scene 77 years ago, what with Jim Crow and wars and all.
Hope is essential to our well-being, in my way of thinking. It’s how we’ve overcome wars and dust bowls and savagery and plagues and genocides and witchhunts and slavery and the like, how we’ve gotten to where we are.
A starving man lives in the hope that his stomach will be satisfied someday; a boy in a ghetto hopes he will realize his dream to fly a rocketship into the vastness of the Milky Way; a Yemeni woman is hopeful that the drones will never, again, come her way; a gay man is full of hope that he can marry his beau some fine day…
Hope is about desiring a better day, better circumstances, a better world, one where people devote time to what they can do for the betterment of all humankind.
And it’s so simple what we need to do, hope-wise, to better the human condition but, alas, we tend to bypass simplicity and too often go about our lives rather ignorantly, working against out best interests sometimes ever so dully and insistently.
Like, for instance, instead of asking ourselves “What can we do to give nature a little help before it does us away?” we, instead, standing on grounds where earthquakes are being man-made, scream into the winds of all the tornados and hurricanes and torrential rains: “There’s no such thing as climate change!”
But, oh, if my heirs and their peers would rise above such inanities and embrace the winds and the sun and learn more each day about how to store the energy they need when the sun isn’t shining and the winds are not blowing, hope for a better world would rise accordingly.
And if they are part of a generation that learns to love and trust one another, that, alone, would bring about a form of hope that could allow them to accomplish anything they might choose to pursue.
With such thinking, obstacles to social justice for all would fall by the wayside, giving way to a mindset that all people do matter, no matter their color or creed or what they reasonably believe, that everyone deserves to live a life with liberty and dignity as the Bill of Rights has laid out with such un-ambiguous clarity.
The police, in the name of justice, would be demilitarized, making, “protect and serve” a declaration that all communities will be treated respectfully, by-and-by.
And as I dream a better world for my progenies’ generation, I see visions of them graduating from schools possessing minds that question reasonably; minds that have been exposed to ideas of restorative justice; minds that have considered how a peaceful world might be realized; minds and souls that are rooted deeply in the arts, as the arts lead one to discovering who one is and who one might become someday.
And I especially hope they are given endless opportunities to write, to look at the world critically as an author or a playwright or a screen-writer or a poet does, always hungry for words and ideas to make their stories come alive.
Words and ideas that will best convey their thoughts on the realities they see in their society, the injustices therein, particularly.
Words and ideas that will help them analyze where they stand with respect to what they observe in their world so they can better decide how they are going to turn it all around.
The very thought of them makes hope literally vibrate in my soul, leaving me with a feeling within that they will:
love their world
freely and unconditionally
and wrap themselves in
all its loveliness
and blessings ever so generous,
and give their all to it,
cherishing its richness,
aware that earth
and the sun
are the givers of life
I basically just hope that, down the line, they will keep hope alive, that hope will always, at least be, much like the words on our rear-view mirrors, “closer than it appears.”