A SPECTER of dispair haunts late twentieth-century America. The quality of our lives and the integrity of our souls are in jeopardy. Wealth inequity and class polarization are escalating, with ugly consequences for the most vunerable among us. The lethal power of global corporate elites and national managerial bosses is at an all-time high. Spiritual malnutrition and existential emptiness are rampant. The precious systems of caring and nurturing are eroding. Market moralities and mentalities, fueled by economic imperatives to make a profit at nearly any cost - yeild unprecedented levels of loneliness, isolation, and sadness. And our public life lies in shambles, shot through with icy cynicism and paralyzing pessimism. To put it bluntly, beneath the record-breaking stock markets on Wall Street and bipartisan budget-balancing deals in the White House lurk ominous clouds of despair across this nation. This bleak portrait is accentuated in black America. The fragile black middle class, always a lumpenbourgeoise in America, fights a white backlash. The devastated black working class fears further underemployment or unemployment. And the besieged black poor struggle to survive. Nearly thirty years after the cowardly murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., black America sits on the brink of collective disaster. Yet most of our fellow citizens deny this black despair, down-play this black rage, and blind themselves to the omens in our midst. So now, as in the past, we prisoners of hope in desparate times must try to speak our fallible truths, expose the vicious lies, and bear our imperfect witness. The country is in deep trouble. We need a moral prohphetic minority of all colors who muster the courage to question the powers that be, the courage to be impatient with evil and paitent with people, and the courage to fight for social justice. Such courage rests on a deep democratic vision of a better world that lures us and a blood-drenched hope that sustains us. ...Only a new wave of vision, courage, and hope can keep us sane and preserve the decency and dignity requisite to revitalize our organizational energy for the work to be done. To live is to wrestle with despair yet never to allow despair to have the last word.
Dr. Cornell West Excerpt from his book "Restoring Hope"
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