On hope versus expectation

The news of Biden’s win broke early on Saturday morning while I was sitting on the couch in the living room, enjoying my coffee and thumbing through Twitter. The change in mood and tone was palpable and immediate; tweets of excitement, happiness and relief, one right after the other, almost nonstop. It was like the sun had come out and shone on everyone at once.

Me? I’ll be honest, to me I’d been so busy prepping myself for the worst in that usual “why am I not surprised” way of the New Engalnder with purposely low expectations. Not entirely pessimistic, just…not letting my hopes up too high so the eventual failure wouldn’t hurt as bad. I had hope, but I was keeping it very close.

My initial reaction to the news, to be honest, was not joyful celebration, or ‘woohoo’ing out our living room window, or pumping my fists like we’d just won the Super Bowl. I thought my reaction would just be an emphatic “oh THANK GOD” but it wasn’t even that.

I just exhaled and untensed my shoulders for the first time in four years. I felt relief.

The Fuckwit (I still do not want to sully my blog with his name here) and the GOP that willfully played along did a fuckton of damage while he was in office. Not all of it affected me personally or at all, but it certainly affected a lot of people I know and love. He and his administration and his party gleefully found ways to disenfranchise, target, and cheat so many people out of their lives and livelihoods. It blew my goddamn mind how often they made the absolute worst decisions at the worst possible moments. And worst of all, he and administration inspired hatred and violence — reveled in it — and not once took responsibility for what came from it.

How do I feel, now that that particular nightmare is close to over? Relatively optimistic. Hopeful. I hate being cynical so I’m trying to avoid that. I’m hopeful that the Biden administration will be smart and forward-thinking enough that they won’t just clean up and fix all the damage that’s been caused but will also think in long-game terms and put positive things into action.

To me, hope and expectation are two different things when it comes to politics. I don’t expect them to be perfect with a 100% success rate, but I hope that my elected leaders will be confident, honest and proactive. I hope that they’ll find ways to make things work even better than before, but I don’t expect miracles. I don’t expect them to hit every single thing on everyone’s wish list, but I hope they’ll at least try to do as much as they can.

Yeah, I know. I hear the “hurr hurr hopey-changey stuff” peanut gallery already. I also hear the “he has to fix [x] first before he can do anything else” crowd. I also hear the “they’re just as bad” and the “but he wasn’t my choice” gang. Everyone has their own take on this. Some of it is self-centered, some of it is self-righteous, some of it is spot-on, some of it completely misses the whole point. I’ve muted most of those conversations quite some time ago.

We’ve got a lot of work to do, and a lot of it isn’t going to be fixed by next weekend. I’m expecting forward motion. I’m hoping that we can clear a lot of these obstacles and roadblocks along the way so everyone can follow as unimpeded as possible.