An Optimistic Man
By Justin Amler
I’m an optimistic guy – I really am. Even though the world is falling apart, I think that brighter days will always lie ahead. I think that despite the propensity of Humankind to screw themselves over, people will still find a way to forge ahead.
And I’m an optimistic guy, because even though Star Wars Episode 7 was dissapointing, I was still hopeful episode 8 would be better. And even though Harrison Ford will be about 120 when he plays Indiana Jones in the next movie, I still believe it’ll be good.
I’m also optimistic, because even though I know the sun will explode in a couple of billions years, I’m not worried, because somehow we would have left this planet by then for greener pastures.
But, as optimistic as I am, that optimism is challenged on a daily basis. It’s challenged when anti-Semites in the world are given the world stage to spout out their hatred. It’s challenged when countries with a history of human rights abuse are given more respect than democracies like Israel. It’s challenged when organisations like the United Nations and others fall over each other to create a terrorist regime that will abuse human rights and continue their policy of ethnic cleansing with the full backing of ‘international agreements.’
However, even though that optimism is challenged, it’s never broken, because to be a Jew today is the very essence of what optimism means.
Just as the Egyptians came and went with their thousands of Gods, we remained with our One.
Just as the Greeks brought their culture and mythology, we remained with our very real and continuing legacy.
Just as the Romans rose from the dust, and then disappeared back into it, we remained standing while the dust swirled around us.
Just as the Nazis proclaimed their 1000 year Reich, then disappeared twelve years later, our 4000 year history continues.
And just as we were expelled from our land 2000 years ago, we returned home, having never given up on it.
It’s all too easy to be swept up in the negativity of this world we live in, a world in which too much hurt and too much pain is on display each day. A world in which justice does not always reign and fairness is a concept seldom witnessed. A world in which too much innocent blood is spilt, while those who spill it, live large and live long.
But as Jews, optimism is the lifeblood that has kept us going. It is the purpose for which we wake up each day. Despite the pogroms, the discrimination, the genocide, the hate, the wars, the attacks, the abuse, we continue. Because you do not exist for 4000 years without believing better days will always lie ahead.
At times, we look at the future and see only a landscape that is bleak and barren, surrounded by enemies that will make agreements and just as easily break them. We see an ocean of darkness with waves of hatred that want to come crashing through the barriers and sweep away our world. But that’s something we won’t allow, even if we’re the last remaining outpost in existence. It’s not really a choice, but simply a part of who we are as a people, and without the promise of better days to come, there’d be no reason to exist at all.
So despite the challenges that lie ahead: challenges that appear to have no solutions, problems that appear to have no resolutions and a peace with no peace partner, we’ll remain optimistic.
And how can we not be when we see our blue and white flag fluttering in the winds in the land of our past and our future.