Tuesday, September 27, 2016
As a mother I truly want to pass along my capacity for hope, for love, for appreciation and for optimism to my boys.
It is not that optimism means you live in a delusional world it means that you can look for the path forward, evolve, learn from the mistakes. Those who are pessimists see very little beyond the wrong step and the wrongs of the past.
It is only with optimists and dreamers that the world has evolved. It is not from the it can't be dones, the we are doomed, the hell and damnation people that the world has moved forward. It is from those who were told no and saw why not. It is from those people who got kicked and pushed back who took a different road.
Two nights ago I went to see a magnificent read-through production with my oldest son called Mad Forest. It was put on by a non-proft group called Upstart Creatures. They work in Manhattan and all they see is potential. They perform out of a church that includes all and embraces people for who they are today. They are not a religious group. The founder Michael spoke of having this idea of combining his two favorite thing; feeding people and putting on theater. Entertainment for the soul and the body. That alone is enough to have me, to make me glad I exposed my son to. Feeding people from the heart is among the best things to do - it truly is a bonding experience and the art of the dinner party, or making food for a lover or a friend or your family brings you closer.
I digress - it is such a cool idea and if you have a couple of extra bucks lying around donate it's tax deductible.
The play was written by a Brit about Romania after the 1989 Revolution. I don't know why Brits like to write about Romania, rumor has it some guy wrote a book about a vampire set there and it's kind of popular.
It was mind blowing - the writer went there with a group and lived and listened to the story of that event. It is done in 3 acts, the first is pre revolution, second is the nights of the revolution and the third shortly after the revolution.
It took me back. The fear, the turning on of the radio in your own house because you weren't sure who might be listening to you from the government and how you may suffer consequences for anything seen on dissent. The lack of food, the lights going out. The pandering to what you knew was wrong to keep your job. There was a scene in the first act that truly touched a cord. A woman playing a teacher who read the communist written history of Ceausescu. He was great, he built big things, he was building another super gaudy in your face with expensive but tasteless gold overlay palace. He was the savior, the founder, the only thing they had so they better not ever think about changing him - the underlying theme of despair, of a drug dealer almost asking the addict can you really live without him.
Ceausecu and his horrid wife were in the process of having something they called the People's Palace because he believed his own rhetoric of how great he was, how people loved him, how the polls agreed with him. He did not see the fear in their eyes, the swallowed anger, the fact that people left Romania not because they weren't patriots but because they were and could no longer live in a place that was not the country it could be. The People's Palace - his family the only people who would live in it and it was done on the bankruptcy of the people leaving them with nothing but a "palace" to walk by, not too close.
He was a leader who took no advice, in fact disdained those with more knowledge then he. He was a typical dictator, fully of venom and narcissistic. It brought me back that scene where the woman playing a teacher tries to instill in the children not a sense of hope that they could build, become, be who they are but instead the slow erosion of their individuality, their need to become people who look down, to not ask for change but to mindlessly accept what he was a leader like.
There was such violence and such death the night of the revolution. A people who truly had lived in a gray world, a world of suspicion saw through the red of the blood on the streets, the flag with it's red, yellow and blue and no dark insignia in the middle - they saw hope. They saw that who they could have always been. They thought that night that it was horrible and amazing at the same time. It was the optimists who went to fight, who died that night. They brought about change. It was the pessimists who cannot see a future that differs from what they know who put many of those who had brutalized them back in charge. Yet today Romania, like may Eastern bloc countries is moving forward because it took over 40 years to try and break them so it sure going to take several generations to show them all they can do. The optimists are winning and they have patience.
I cannot stand by and see an election in my chosen country of residence where a candidate runs it on pessimism. He offers no hope, he offers himself as a cult leader. His campaign is built on what has not been done and what he wants to give us to do is sacrifice our freedoms, our thoughts, our ability to process complex ideas like global warming and submit. Submit to him and his houses of gold overlay, tasteless furniture that he did just like every Communist dictator ever seen. They need that kind of furniture that reflects themselves, the reassures them. He talks in the parlance of how he is the savior. That is not hope - that is submission. A true leader speaks of the possibility in you - not of the possibilities for them.
I find faulty with Hillary and I think she is part of the broken campaign finance road but it is a road I can see fixed. I liked Pres Obama's campaign of Hope, Ronald Reagan's asking to tear down a wall, JFKs asking what can we do for our country. These men thought of the country and they thought with all it's boils, warts and need for correction it was a great country because we had the potential to keep making it right even if it takes a long time. The African American museum opened this past weekend, it took a long time to get it done but it was done because we have to celebrate that people triumphed against those who tried to keep them in chains, to work together to acknowledge the past and learn from it, to show our kids what the future could be with people who saw the potential beyond their circumstances. The optimists!
I truly enjoyed the play and it was great to speak to one of the actors who recently moved here from Romania. He too was frightened as were his friends back home of what they saw in the parallels of the dictator they toppled and the one rising here.
Vote - because voting is one of the first things people who lack hope take away from you. You vote to be heard, you vote to move forward and you vote to say that you believe Yes We Can. We have seen what these man have done in the past and the optimist in me says we can keep moving forward and not be dragged down by those who want us to live in a state of pessimism. Optimists have stamina, they can wait and wait because they can see the wonders of what could be. Pessimists do not have any - they want to sit down and give up.
I am a mother of two children and of all the gifts I can give them hope must be among the strongest.