"An optimist isn't necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark
of our time. 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, 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 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."
Check out Howard Zinn's revisioned version of American history: "A
People's History of the United States": http://tinyurl.com/bu8ylzk