I have thought about my parents a few times this week because my parents loved President Kennedy. They had two hardcover photography books of the First Family. I think one of them was a Time-Life publication. It might have been called Camelot. And sometimes my mum would pull them out...and many times over the years the subject of where they were when he was shot would come up at family gatherings.
I think I understand aa bit more why the motif of that First Family was so dear to their hearts, how J and J Kennedy reflected their ideals at that period of their lives...and even how their eventual pessisim and cynicism...their change in life choices became more selfish etc. I feel now that the robbery of Kennedy's life and the crushing of those ideals...refelcted or connected to the changes my parents went trhough...from hope and family or community to a more cynical and self interested phase: were a little like an act of self-protection from disappointment.
My parents really believed later in life that there wasn't any value in hope or their attitude towards ideals was extremely suspicious. They had seen that dreams and ideals could be killed: community energy could be ripped away. I guess also with Nixon scandal too.
I see a metaphor in Obamas accomplishments ...to the Berlin Wall being torn down (November, 1989). The young people who tore down the Berlin wall had learned vital lessons from Tiananmen Square(spring, and June 1989). They spread word of mouth and knew how to rally much much more prepared than the students in Tiananmen did...because they were able to study the media coverage and the fallout.
In this way...Obama may have a lot of a mess and intense challenges...but his staff and his advisors also have the wealth of history on "what not to do" and how to mobilize from taking notes on the last 50 years...much like the word-of-mouth activists and mobilizing of the Berlin Wall take down.
Contrary to the idea that Reagan was influential o the Berlin Wall coming down...it was actually rock and roll and a movement building slowly unknown by people like Reagan. The influence of bands like Pink Floyd mirror the influence of Will.i.am in the Obama campaign and it's grassroots energy.
I think one thing that has hit me this week is the difference in the kind of sense of hope from us now to the kind of hope of people shocked by tragedy (and then becoming cynical or self protectionist).
I am thinking of Victor Frankl's idea of a tragic optimism...one that knows about the tragic side of history and humans...but being re-visited and felt by so many of us now...
I have heard in some of my other web board encounters a kind of "warning" like...too much hope is unrealistic...etc etc
But I think part of what the naysayers are missing is that the hope or excitement of people right now isn't a naive hope or a hope with vested interest in materialism or pay back. But hope spiritually or emotionally combined as well as "taking care of business". This is why Obama's popularity and his platforms have not only been a victory for African-Americans and for variety of skin colour...they are a victory for people who have not been part of the materialistic trends or feel they want to re-evaluate society's function of the last 50 years.
I think hope has evolved it's meaning or layers of meaning in the last 50 years...
As an example, according to Victor Frankl meaning can be discovered in three ways:
* By creating a work or doing a deed
* By experiencing something or encountering someone
* By the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering
The “existential aspect of Frankl’s psychotherapy maintains man always has the ability to choose; no matter the biological, or environmental forces. An important aspect of this therapy is known as the “tragic triad,” pain, guilt, and death. Frankl’s “Case for a Tragic Optimism” uses this philosophy to demonstrate…
“optimism in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential, which at its best always allows for:
Firstly, turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment.
Secondly, deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better.
Thirdly, deriving from life transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action."
My visit to Dealey Plaza last year
An interview with Victor Frankl on YouTube