‘We shall overcome’ Really? I’m beginning to doubt it but not giving up yet

We live in desperate times. Many of us often insist we have not given up hope. But, be honest for a moment, how many of us hide that nagging feeling that actually we may have? The heart hopes and the brain calibrates; but mine feel at odds with each other and are sending different signals.
“We are not afraid We are not afraid today Cause deep in my heart I do believe We shall overcome some day.”
Wouldn’t it be better to start by admitting this, than bravely but untruthfully telling people that “everything’s going to be alright?” For example, I’ve often heard activists say that the current crises we face in South Africa and the world “create a moment of opportunity?”
Pull the other one.
That’s what we said about Covid-19. “Build Back Better” went the maxim, in reality a catchphrase substituting alliteration for thought (as we do so often these days). But building back better clearly isn’t happening.
We are building back worse.
As an example of what I’m talking about, consider a claim by Doug Abrams’s, the author of the wonderfully written and evidenced Book of Joy, recording a series of conversations that took place between the Arch and the Dalai Lama in 2014.
At the 2022 Tutu Memorial lecture Abrams said that “our best days are ahead of us”.
“Our greatest threat is not the pandemic or fascism or climate change, but the loss of hope that we can solve the challenges we face.”
Perhaps Abrams framed his thought in this way precisely because he knows many people are losing “hope that we can solve the challenges we face”.
Sadly, I found a lament by Roland Baines, the lead character in Ian McEwan’s new novel, The Lessons, more resonant:
“By what logic or motivation or helpless surrender did we all, hour by hour, transport ourselves within a generation from the thrill of optimism at Berlin’s falling Wall to the storming of the American Capitol? [Baines] had thought 1989 was a portal, a wide opening to the future, with everyone streaming through. It was merely a peak. Now, from Jerusalem to New Mexico, walls were going up. So many lessons unlearned. . From peak to middern in thirty years. . As he saw it, simply getting through intact to the last day of the twenty-first century. would be a triumph.”
I am a person who has always lived within hope.
But I have decided to raise these questions publicly because ...