Cynicism is the easiest thing in the world. Being cynical takes no effort, merely apathetic resignation.
Idealism takes work. If cynicism is the gradual downhill slide to confirmation of your worst fears, idealism is the persistent trudge to the top.
Having high ideals while so many around you seem not to can be dispiriting. But don’t be fooled into thinking idealism is dead — or old-fashioned, or useless. Having high ideals is the first step in becoming a giant soul, a beautiful spirit. For without an intended path, a game plan, your life is a kind of unfolding accident. With a clear picture of your values — your ideals — your decisions and behaviors consistently reflect your deepest convictions.
We’re at one of those points in American History that seem to come around every 40-50 years: something big is happening. Our society is in the initial, uncertain stages of a comprehensive transformation. The pattern is predictable: First there’s profound fear of disturbing the status quo, and then eventually most everyone agrees changing the rules was a pretty good idea: as when women were granted the right to vote; as when Jim Crow was discredited and dismantled; as when homosexuals were permitted to wed. In each case, an utterly righteous and unimpeachable-in-hindsight point-of-view was, at the time, hotly contested and passionately resisted. Eventually, truth won out. Love trumped hate. Idealism survived.
The improbable and magnificent rise of Bernie Sanders to the top of our national consciousness is in some ways just as revolutionary. For once in our lifetime, we’ve found a leader whose ideals are almost as lofty as ours, someone who has been on the righteous side of history for his entire political career. Someone who never let anyone convince him that idealism is un-cool. Bernie’s idealism has required courage.
Encourage: to fill with courage. Encourage yourself. Encourage others.
When you consider which candidate for President most closely represents your values, your ideals, don’t be seduced by cynicism. That’s for the lazy. Allow your heart to swell with the possibility that We the People can realize our highest selves when we act on our highest ideals.