The Everlasting Hope

By Bryce Tapp (University of South Florida Undergraduate)

After Tuesday’s results, it is easy for those of us who feel defeated to begin to feel resentment for our nation and to begin to hate after the outcome of this election. But what’s more difficult? Giving into one’s own malice and resentment or holding one’s head high and feeling pride in the progress it took to reach this point? We mustn’t’ give into the same anger and hate that fueled the outcome of this election – for there resides no plan of pace and love only of destruction and of hate. 

But I am fearful of what resides down this long walk our nation must now take. For us to think that the path ahead shall be free from darkness, free from sorrow, free from despair and from bleakness would be wrong. The vision that has seen victory in our nation is not one that aligns with the roots of our nation. No. That vision represents the part of our nation that has long rotted and festered in the gallows of bloodshed, of racism, of hatred, and of fear. 

But, despite all of this, we must now, more than ever, remain true to the hope and the vision for our nation, a nation built upon the morals of a people yearning for freedom and for justice, for equality and for peace. The morals upon which our nation were founded must never be cast aside in the wake of defeat, for the greatest test we shall face will be whether or not we falter in the face of this darkness that has arisen across our land. 

Do not let this defeat vanquish the flame of hope within you, Do not give into the complacency that follows in the wake of defeat, do not abandon all hope in these coming days. But I ask you to never forget the hope that you held before our loss. Remember the pride you felt when we worked to make history – you never let go of knowing that we did everything we could for the sake of our nation. Never let go of your hope and never let you’re hope released its grasp upon your life. 

Because now more than ever, we need to continue our work and not to let the legacy of hope we worked to create vanish before our eyes. We mustn’t forget the defeats of the past in the dawns that broke after those moments of eclipsing despair. 

When our nation was rooted in war on foreign lands and families struggled to make ends meet, did we not lift up among us he who gave us the audacity of hope? When sands were blown from the Midwest to the Northeast, and tyranny engulfed the European continent, did we not lift up a leader who destroyed the power of fear and created an error of possibility and mobility? 

These dangers we face today are not new to our lands or our people – they are but the rhymes of history played out upon our stage. And from the shared past of our people and our lands we have grown into an abundance of audacity, an abundance of strength, and an abundance of hope in the shadow of every evil. We have always triumphed when we looked evil in the eyes and defended the very core values which make our nation the shining city upon a hill the world looks to for inspiration and for hope. 

The generations that came before us and lofted high the great pillars of equality and liberty – pillars created not just for a handful of individuals, but for every individual living within our nation – must not see the fruits of their labor and living justice of their lives destroyed in the wake of hate’s triumph. It is our duty to each and every American to lift the fallen pillars of our nation, to lift one another up in our time of need, and to lift up our nation as we search for our soul and begin to heal after one of the most trying years we have seen in over a decade. 

If we relinquish our hope and falter in our strides, what good will that do for our nation? What good will come of forsaking the work of those who blazed the trails we now walk upon? 

This is to the suffragists who shattered that first glass ceiling, the abolitionists who helped to break the chains of bondage, the civil rights activists who gave rights to those most deserving, the LGBT champions who give a voice to the oppressed, the migrant workers who fought for their livelihood, the Native Americans who fight for their dignity – their legacies live on in the laws and lives of our nation. It is up to us to enshrine their legacies within our lives and within our laws, because the legacy of those bravest women over one hundred years ago still lives on today. And although it may seem that their legacy has not been fulfilled, we’re 59 million cracks closer to shattering that highest and hardest glass ceiling. And we mustn’t stop now. 

The greatest fight that lies ahead will test our tenacity and our resolve as a nation bound by the laws and principles of freedom, justice, and equality. We must choose between protecting the progress we’ve made or letting the morals and values of our nation bow to the rise of hate and fear. So let us not make our defeat the end of a war; let us make it a lost battle in the struggle for the very soul and core of our nation. Because if we abandon our all of our hope and all of our love for this nation of the brave and of the just, then the ultimate victory shall never be achieved. 

No matter how victorious that nightfall of fear and intolerance may seem and no matter how powerful that hatred shall appear, we must never waver in our opposition to the very manifestation of all we have fought against in our nation’s struggle for freedom and for peace. We must walk together with our heads held high and know that our work has only yet begun. That our dream for a future where all Americans strive equally toward happiness will only continue so as much as we fight for that right. For hate shall only triumph over hope when we give it the power to do so. 

We have come too far and sacrificed too much to bow to the face of one defeat. For the greatest battle has yet to be fought – we must never forget our hope and love for our nation as we await the day when our morals will be tested ever more. So when that time arises, we will rise up, we will look hatred in the eye, and we will deny its victory, its triumph, its attempts to control our nation. We shall prevail. We shall overcome. We shall see the light of a new dawn on high where our nation is that city upon a hill. Where our nation is the creation of our morals. Where our nation remains the shining beacon of hope it has always been in our world. Never give up. Not now and not ever. Do not let this hatred see you weak – show your strength and fight on. 

We will look toward the future with an admiration of hope and the knowledge of our power over our lives. For the most powerful weapon against hate will always be our love for one another. Our love and our hope shall always triumph over their hate. For hate does not drive our hope, hope drives our hate.