The Power of Relentless Optimism

By Martin Bond, CESC Executive Director

On January 20, 2017, President Donald J. Trump took office, while activists here in California organized protests and marches against his administration in which huge crowds participated.

I believe him a remarkably poor fit for the office of president. I am against most of his policies, his lack of empathy, and his hate-filled tirades in speeches and on Twitter. As someone who works with vulnerable communities and encourages clean energy, I find President Trump is in direct contradiction to what I do and talk about every day.  It would be easy to give up and give in to despair and fear. I will not. I have faith in the American people to not give in to an autocrat. I choose to take a positive view; change can be effected by a focused, relentless effort to make an impact towards a better world.

As President Trump said himself, we cannot be all talk and no action. Complaining about his policies to other like-minded friends doesn’t help. Protests, marches, and complaints are important, yet alone they will not effect change in him, or the world. I as an individual, and we as a community, can do more than just talk.

We can act by:

* Leading by example to support the very groups coming under attack: immigrants, Muslims, women, and people of color.  We need to protect those most vulnerable among us, because once it is OK to hurt them, who will be next?

* Continuing to combat climate change through our choices in: transportation, (electric vehicles, bikes, mass transit), purchasing energy (renewable sources, purchasing ‘green energy’ from our utilities), and how we live (buying local, participating in our communities). Climate change is an existential threat to our civilization, and we can still make an impact with the choices we make toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  

* Taking control of our attitudes and choices we make every day. We can choose to see the good in our neighbors, the humanity in immigrants escaping violence, and the opportunities in the challenges we are facing today.

* Joining groups and communities of like-minded individuals to effect change in the world.

I need to be strong and not lose myself into despair or apathy. I can make a difference and build a better future. However, I have to act. One by one, first in small groups, then in large, we will build a community to fight for a better world.

I will remember to have gratitude for the good parts of my life, my family, my friends, and this great organization I am fortunate enough to be a part of.

I know these times, this administration, and this president are not permanent. Policies being made right now can be overturned and will not affect us forever. The actions of this president are not normal behavior, and many people are fighting against his recent policies.

I have work to do. We will get through these tough times. We will get through it, together.