The Right to Hope

This weekend, Christians around the world joined in celebrating one of the holiest days of the year: Easter Sunday.  A day of hope and rebirth.

To quote part of Pope Francis’s message on twitter Saturday evening:

‘Tonight we acquire a fundamental right: the right to hope…It is not mere optimism, it is a gift from heaven, which we could not have earned on our own.’

I am going to focus on two instances where isolation led to some of the most significant events in American history, that out of the darkness provided hope to so many.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to take my kids to the Little White House in Warm Springs, GA (where FDR passed away on April 12, 1945), a fascinating place I had visited once before.  Driving to Warm Springs, it was easy to imagine when FDR was president how isolated this location could have felt.  However nestled away on Pine Mountain it was, it also was the basis of some of the most significant pieces of legislation to come out of his administration.  One in particular – the rural electrification act.  As the park ranger we spoke with told us, ‘FDR didn’t like the fact that his electric bill for his cottage in Warm Springs was significantly higher than his mansion in Hyde Park, so he created this administration’.

Fast forward 25 years later. Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert were on board Apollo 13 and headed towards the moon, when those infamous words were uttered: ‘Houston, we have a problem…’.  For the next several days, engineers scrambled to take supplies on board the ship and create numerous innovative ways to keep the ship and the crew alive.  And, of course, the famous line from the movie:

I believe out of this quarantine and isolation is going to come a new level of hope and rebirth for our country.

Think of the possibilities:

– Rural Broadband (which has gained a lot of steam with schools going online)

– Post 9/11 defense level-type funding for scientific research and medical infrastructure (simply put, budgets don’t exist)

– The number of companies that are learning they could potentially cater to a whole new market and are reinventing themselves

Chuck Todd, this weekend on Meet the Press, quoted Winston Churchill, in a quote I couldn’t think more appropriate to sum up things:

‘Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’

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