The New York Times ran an editorial this morning lamenting the rise of pessimism in the U.S. as essentially un-American. The article noted that Americans were really optimistic when their forces invaded Iraq, believing that this heralded a new and better day for the Middle East and the world. That optimism was transformed into abject pessimism by the fiasco of Iraq and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
To me, pessimism is a surrender to helplessness. We're doomed, why bother? I think there's a fine but very important line that separates pessimism from realism. Realism is an acknowledgment that there are problems, plenty of them, but problems to be confronted and remedied.
The writings on this blog can seem awfully pessimistic. They may be gloomy, angry, worried but from the reality of me writing them and you reading them, there is just that little bit of impetus for change - and the belief that we can change these things lies in the beating heart of true optimism.