Moving Forward with Optimism
In the aftermath of the recent US presidential election, people are feeling and expressing many different things: joy, fear, sadness, worry, hopeful anticipation, and dread, to name a few. Some people are looking forward to America becoming “great again,” others are seizing the moment and becoming activists, others are waiting it out, while some people are still deciding what their post-election path is. The presidential election, while won by a specific candidate, was not a landslide mandate for a specified agenda. Continued conversation is necessary.
While dealing with this on a personal level, I came across three things in the media that gave me hope for all people. First, in the November 21, 2016 issue of Time Magazine (http://time.com/4565673/donald-trump-jihad-of-peace/), Qasim Rashid writes, “…Now is not the time to throw in the towel… (it is the time) to start conversations…when you face a counter-narrative, (the discussion) becomes much more important.” Regardless of one’s political views and biases, continued productive dialogue is needed. Change and the unknown are uncomfortable and can lead to negative behavior. There are enough voices on both sides of most current controversial issues to allow the conversations to continue. Permitting and promoting these conversations are a constitutional right. I have hope that these dialogues continue to occur in peaceful forums.
Disney’s film, Zootopia, explores the issues of race, diversity, acceptance, dreaming, and societal challenges. At the end of the film, the lead character, Judy Hopps delivers a speech about making an effort to improve the world. “When I was a kid, I thought Zootopia was this perfect place where everyone got along and anyone could be anything. Turns out, real life is a little bit more complicated than a slogan on a bumper sticker. Real life is messy. We all have limitations. We all make mistakes. Which means―hey, glass half full!―we all have a lot in common. And the more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each of us will be. But we have to try. So no matter what type of person you are, from the biggest elephant to our first fox, I implore you: Try. Try to make the world a better place. Look inside yourself and recognize that change starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with all of us” (Judy Hopps, http://www.feelingsuccess.com/zootopia-ending-scene-try-speech/).
Finding Dory is also inspiring. At one point in the film pessimistic and non-risk-taking Marlin states, “The water is half empty”, to which the eternally optimistic Dory replies, “Hmmmm, I’d say its half full.” The world is full of diversity. People are happy, people are angry; optimistic, pessimistic. It does not necessarily matter if the water is half empty or half full. It will be half empty if you look at it as half empty. And it will be half full if you look at it that way. The interpretation of the information and attitude you choose to adopt mean everything. Two people can read the same book or hear the same information. The first person does not believe in the principle or outlook and does not take steps to improve his/her life and the status quo remains. The second person chooses to believe in or further explore the information and takes actions, perhaps with guidance or influence from another, to produce results and improve his/her life. It may not matter if the water is half empty or half full, what matters is your belief and the actions you take. As Dory states, “just keep swimming.” Moving forward and living life with direction is how change can be made. If individuals remain stagnant, so will society. Millions of children in the world have seen these movies. I have hope the lessons of these films and the positive actions of the adults in lives of these children will lead to positive changes in the world.