Words for a New Millennium

by

Fifth Estate # 354, Spring, 2000

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, and kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved so magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And, if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

— Howard Zinn, You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train

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