Break The Barrier: Defeatism and Hopelessness

Break the Barrier: Defeatism and Hopelessness

by "Kenny," August 18, 2020

Malcolm X, a revolutionary black nationalist and social activist, once wrote the following about his feelings towards our horrid society: "I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight."

Malcolm may have been saying this about the cruelty of a society that had ruined his mother, but it nonetheless shows a truth about society that applies to kids and child lovers. The society we live in is one that crushes the hopes and aspirations of the youth, treating them as if they're incapable of acting with an ability to self-govern. That society will brutally penalize the child lover whose love crosses social and legal boundaries and will crush them with violence and hate, instilling fear into the hearts of lovers. That society deserves absolutely no mercy or compassion from us or anyone else.

Yet, we do have mercy for this society. We don't choose to fight and shout out against this society; we are instead merciful, despite its lack of compassion. We show this society mercy, not because we should, but because we fear. With this fear comes a readiness to give up and to accept defeat - we have succumbed to defeatism. With these two forces- fear and defeatism- we make a crucial mistake: We discourage those among us with the hope and aspiration to speak out. Perhaps we gawk at these people, seeing them as foolish and irrational in their endeavors or, more kindly, we discourage them because we feel concerned for their safety. But this view of "safety" is nothing more than a fallacy. If safety is to be kept from harm's way, then we are not and never have been safe; we've been trapped! The only way for us to have this view of "safety" is to be silent - and silence has and never will be true safety. Silence is the antithesis of safety; silence is itself a danger.

If you are silent by being closeted, then you are left in a state of perpetual psychological harm. You are left with loneliness, despair, and total disconnection from those you love. This isn't safety, it's suffering. If we are to be silent, then we are to let society get away with oppression. If we are to be silent, we are to let hate fester. If we are to be silent, we are to let people suffer and die. Society will try and suppress our voices, society will try and keep us from speaking but we don't have to do the same by discouraging each other from speaking. We must overcome our defeatism. We must restore hope in those who are hopeless, and build a community filled with this hope.

I recognize one can't fix hopelessness in a day. I recognize that restoring hope can seem like an impossible task. However, restoring hope in the hopeless is an absolute necessity if we don't want what we have left of our movement to crumble upon itself. Now, we could sit around proposing reasons to the hopeless as to why they should be more hopeful and learn to beat back their defeatism- but I believe there is a far better way to inspire hope: we take direct action. We let the hopeful and aspiration-filled among us show their hope in their actions. We let the hopeless among us see hope. If these people can see that there are still people willing to take risks, willing to try and make strides, then maybe, just maybe, we can give some of them hope.

Earlier I mentioned building a community of hope, and I would like to expand on that point. To build a community of hope, of people with passion and aspiration still left in them, then there is something we must do. We must create an environment that encourages those who are already hopeful rather than bringing them down. The sort of environment that, rather than shutting down one's idea, advises on how to improve the idea and make it more effective. A sort of environment where hope and passion can prosper despite the cruel world we must operate within. I believe wholeheartedly if we are to breed such an environment among ourselves then we will begin to see actions taken, strides occur, and change begin. We will see the world transform under our influence.

I hope that some of you will hear my advice and understand the necessity there is to build hope within our community, within a community that has been beaten down so fervently by society. I hope I'll manage to help some of you understand the necessity there is to defeat our defeatism. There will be no progress if there is no hope. There will be no progress if we yield, if we give up. 

I'll leave you with a statement by Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California: "The us's, without hope, the us's give up. I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you, and you, gotta give 'em hope." Harvey Milk may have been murdered, but hope should not die with the death of one hopeful. We must give each other hope. We must strive, and we must continue in the face of hate.

"Kenny" (not his real name) is a a fourteen-year-old boy living somewhere in America. We think that he has a fine and promising mind and wish him all the best for his future and his freedom.


 

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