I’ve used this piece of music from Milk as part of a 9/11 post a couple of times now.  It is, sadly, more appropriate today than after just about any mass shooting.  Than any shooting at all since Harvey Milk’s assassination.  Because there are a lot of conservatives out there refusing to acknowledge that this particular act of terror was aimed squarely at the LGBT community.  Because this act was aimed squarely at the LGBT community.  Because thugs and gangsters like ISIS teach people that homosexuality is worse than a sin.  But it’s time for a little more than just the music.

Now I could’ve hunted down some footage of Harvey speaking these words himself; maybe that would’ve been better.  But I’ve always found this ending scene from the movie so powerful.  The thousands of candles, the river of candles, moving down the street in honor and memory of that man remind me that we are more than our labels, although in this case the label is a little important.  I refuse to erase the gay people from this crime.  And I refuse to give in to thugs and gangsters.  I refuse to give in to hate.  The only way to stop hate is with love.  The only way to stop fear is to refuse to be afraid.  The only way to end all this endless violence is to give people, all people, hope.

You gotta give ’em hope.

“Imagine” (redux)


Hope is a pretty powerful thing, almost as powerful as love.  It gives millions of people a reason to get up in the morning, helps them fall asleep at night.  readncook gave me this fabulous little homework assignment, to write about hope (she also wrote a nifty post about one of my favorite poets, Walt Whitman).  It’s a bit of a daunting task, because even though I feel hope pretty regularly, even though I say I hope for things all the time, I don’t really think about what that means to me.  “Hope” is one of those abstractions I always used to warn the students I tutored in writing about.  Abstractions are great because the encapsulate a really big idea or ideal into one or two words.  But they are awful because they lack specificity, a concrete definition.  Oh sure, there’s a definition written next to “hope” in the dictionary, but that just tells you what the linguists have decided it means.  It tells you nothing about what it really means in the world.

I hope for a lot of things.  Right now, I’m hoping like hell all my medical tests come back normal and negative (my mantra of the last few days).  I hope I continue to have good health, and that the people I know and love continue to have good health.  I hope President Obama wins the election because I am not prepared to live in a country run by a used car salesman (even though I spent eight years in one being run by a shrub).  I hope I win the lottery, so that I can give animal shelters and libraries tons of money, and still have enough left over to support my parents and my BFF’s amazing but disabled child.  I really hope someone does something about catastrophic climate change (you gotta put that catastrophic in front, or no one will pay attention).  I hope I get a real job soon.  I hope for a lot, and sometimes it feels a little overwhelming to realize there are so many scary things in the world and so much to hope for.

That’s what John Lennon’s “Imagine” is about.  Hope that people will someday learn to see past all the stupid things they fight over and just get along.  Hope that everyone will learn that skin color and religion and sex/gender and all that other stuff doesn’t matter, that every single person on the planet is the same.  Hope that maybe, just maybe, we might realize that stuff and money are less important that justice and fairness and equality.  Hope that we can make the world a better place.

Yeah, I hope for a lot of things.  And you may say I’m a dreamer, but I know I’m not the only one.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Easy to say, not that hard to do.  Vote.  Volunteer.  Eat less meat, more local produce.  Spend your money on companies you agree with.  Turn off some lights.  Wash your clothes in cold water.  Do something.  Do anything.  Then maybe a better world won’t be a dream anymore.

This post is part of the Blog Relay for Hope started by Melanie Crutchfield.  Amy at readncook passed the baton to me.  I am passing it to Sandee at 1800ukillme .  Please check out these blogs.

Here are the instructions:

Step 1: Write a blog post about hope & publish it on your blog.
Step 2: Invite one (or more!) bloggers to do the same.
Step 3: Link to the person who recruited you (me, in this case) at the top of the post, and the people you’re recruiting at the bottom of the post.

Melanie Crutchfield will gather up little snippets from people who wrote about hope, so make sure you link back to her as the originator of the relay.