Hope is a Thing With Feathers?

Do Baltimore Orioles hope to find the material necessary to build their woven nests? I think not. They’d probably be extinct if they did. Instead they do: they seek out dried grasses and rushes and other fibers. In this world, they also find string, rope, ribbon, and bits of this and that to be useful. And with all this stuff they weave together hanging nests hidden amidst the leaves. But come winter… This one, photographed recently, still looks to be in great shape.

Is hope a dangerous crutch? Perhaps we should all be hopeless. It might make us fight harder instead of waiting for some politician or other miracle to save us. During the election, I heard a similar resonance in the hope of Trump voters, who wanted change, with the hope of Obama voters in 2008, who wanted change. They may all have been hoping for different kinds of change, but the impotent yearning was similar. I’m afraid this is no way to allocate power (which is the whole point of politics).

Dinosaurs were things with feathers. Birds are things with feathers. Hope is not a politically useful tool, except for those who wish us to keep on hoping.

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