Hope in the hopeless

The poor are not apathetic, someone said in class once. “They have no hope.”
Yet in every meeting of our Constitutional Law class, we discuss the power that the Law has given to the people. They can change their leaders, their government, and even the Constitution. The power to reform belongs to the people — and to the people alone.
Every three years they choose who will craft the laws in their name, and who will run the government in their stead. Every six years they choose who will govern them.
Everything — from making the laws to implementing them — is done in the name of the people. Even the power of the press derives from the people’s right to know.
All the power emanates from the people, my teacher said.
But poverty and ignorance — as well as the government’s refusal to listen to the people — have rendered them powerless.
“Why protest when nothing will happen anyway?” is a comment, not a question, that is often said in an angry, yet hopeless tone. Bereft of hope, the people have learned to be passive.
Which is exactly why the poor are forever kept in a state of despair, reeling from one crisis to another. They cannot be allowed to harbor hope. They cannot be allowed to learn about, realize and later claim, the power that the Law and democracy gives to the people. They have to remain hopeless, because they cannot be allowed to exercise their power.
How then will reform be achieved? For in a democracy the power emanates from the people. The choice — between Heaven and Hell — must be made by the people.
And so we must continue to have faith in those who have lost faith in themselves, and hope in those who have no hope. To do otherwise would be to undermine not only democracy itself, but the people whom we all profess to serve.

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