It’s common knowledge that during the Great Depression, when faced with financial ruin, White people by the scores jumped off bridges, shot themselves or found other means to commit suicide because they could not face the prospect of having a dollar less than what they had amassed – often on the backs of the 99 percent.
These were people who refused to allow hope to work in their lives. Others who had nothing suffered through the period with a sense of abiding faith and hope that things would ultimately get better – and they did.
Faith under fire
The latest utterings from the right wing would have us believe that “the hope bubble has burst.” This, of course, is consistent with their recurring efforts to minimize the spirit of hope and optimism that has been generated by President Obama during this, his first term in office.
But those of us who think critically and observe our current circumstance through the wide-angle lens of historical reference understand that we move daily toward the brighter future promised us in 2008.
Although much remains to be done, consumer confidence has risen. Unemployment numbers are going down. We’ve had over two consecutive years of growth in jobs. There is a resurgence of businesses, such as General Motors, that were assisted through the much-maligned stimulus.
Yet, problems that could easily be solved are encouraged to fester for the prospect of political gain. Rather than providing meaningful employment to thousands of Americans to rebuild our failing infrastructure, the right wingers and their supporters in Congress want to tighten the purse strings of public works funding and justify it with the myth that “government does not create jobs.”
Armed with their voter suppression laws, in an effort to beat down any spirit of optimism that remains in the general populace, the right-wingers believe that they can manipulate our emotions and our actions to influence election outcomes in their favor. But as with our forbearers, the indomitable spirit of the American people is not dead and will not be defeated.
Clearly, the people of Wisconsin move ever closer to recalling their governor who tried to crush their spirit and quality of life. In his first year in office, the governor of Ohio made big changes based on his right-wing ideas that were backed by big business, but opposed by the 99 percent. They caused him to suffer an overwhelming political defeat.
While the right wing expected us to roll over and play dead, the masses are responding with faith, optimism, energy, activism and a complete rejection of the negativism coming from the far right.
Their marginalization of women and their rejection of the right of women’s self-determination on issues of healthcare and reproductive rights added fuel to the fire of public indignation, and give irrefutable evidence to the malevolent goals of the right wing agenda.
Yes, we are people of indomitable spirit. We reject shackles on our bodies as well as our minds. We have greater faith in our own self-reliance than those who idly use the words to characterize what should be.
Dr. E. Faye Williams is national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.