Baltimore and the need for hope

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The riots that have occurred in Baltimore this week have elicited a variety of reactions from Americans with some agreeing, some sympathizing, and others disagreeing. I have read news accounts and opinions worldwide about what is happening but perhaps one of the best has come from right here in the Shenandoah Valley.

Chris Graham lives in Waynesboro, owns Augusta Free Press, and writes everything from sports commentary to opinion. His response to the Baltimore rioting brings in another point of view and may not be what those who know him expected to hear (see Injustice and its failed response):

As someone with personal experience being poor, growing up in a single-parent household, in a trailer park, food stamps and free school lunches and the rest, I can tell you how at least one poor kid growing up viewed the world.

See, hope isn’t something that somebody gives you. Hope is something you have to create for yourself.

I can’t give you hope; you have to want it. Hope has to come from within.

It’s not somebody else’s fault, not the government’s fault, if you feel hopeless. That’s on you.

You’re not disenfranchised if you do it to yourself. You’re disengaged. That’s also on you.

Disengaged, willfully hopeless, then angry and lashing out … at others. And we’re ennobling this as legitimate political expression.

We’re patting people on the head and telling them it’s OK to break stuff because they’re mad at their self-imposed hopelessness.

A better use of that energy is empowering people to want more from and for themselves.

I woke up Monday morning a liberal Democrat. I went to bed … not sure, but not what I woke up.

We’ve created a culture of dependency that is going to be hard for us to re-engineer into something more constructive.

Be sure to read the entire piece here.

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