If we want more victories, those of us who are progressive need to celebrate the wins (always partial but still real) that we pull off, while we press on for more and better. This seems obvious but ...
Instead we trap ourselves in gloom. Timothy Burke, a professor in History at Swarthmore, acerbically describes how this works in academia:
If that's too abstract, try this description from one of my favorite sports writers(!), Gregg Easterbrook. The gloom around us is pervasive.
Easterbrook thinks our apocalyptic gloom is a social sickness. The Republican presidential pretenders, led by the presumptive nominee, bellowed through a competition to proclaim how awful our condition is. Meanwhile Bernie says things are so bad only a "revolution" (his sensible social democratic one) will save us. Lots of polls show most of us think somehow we're on the wrong track.
But people will only struggle to make change when they believe their efforts will indeed win them better lives. If we want to change the world, we can't wallow. We have to find enough hope to keep on keeping on whether to rein in racist cops, or win a living wage, or turn the country away from imperial military adventures.
Let's listen to that observant football writer again:
Belief in better possibilities isn't enough to win, but we don't win without such an animating belief. Pessimism is easy; hope is hard, but it enables change.