They are counting on despair. That’s how they win.
Those who seek to undermine our democracy, to normalize corruption and hate and division… They are counting on despair.
Those who say our votes don’t matter, that facts don’t matter, that the truth doesn’t matter… They are counting on despair.
Those who say there are “real Americans,” that we need to go back to a mythic past, that we should close ourselves to the world… They are counting on despair.
Those who would despoil our environment and undermine science… They are counting on despair.
Those who would gaslight, lie and revel in propaganda… They are counting on despair.
Those who look the other way, make excuses and normalize autocracy… They are counting on despair.
There is a tendency to feel the despair well up from within, and not recognize it as a weapon being wielded with precision and purpose from without. They are counting on despair.
The greatest leaders in our history knew that despair is toxic to progress. Washington at Valley Forge. Lincoln at Gettysburg. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Birmingham. But more than the famous names are the countless women and men who have fought back against despair in the service of hope, and progress. I have seen it in foxholes, on picket lines, in classrooms, and in the midst of natural disasters. I have seen it in the marches, movements, and moments where people rose up and said our world can be better, and we will do the hard work to make it so.
Despair these days is an understandable feeling. Our world seems in many ways upside down. To fight against the odds, against the powerful, against the morally bankrupt, is exhausting. But just remember, they are counting on despair. Will you let them have it?