What Will It Take?

Jose Vilson Jose 9 Comments

In Beijing, China, the International Olympics Committee told the Chinese government to ease up on their treatment of people. The Chinese government, in turn, invites protesters to register at their local police department and, when the Olympics come, to just stand in one of the designated protest areas and they can do as they please. As prominent protesters have disappeared into the secret confines of their prisons, no one’s shown up to these protests, despite the myriad “opportunities” to do so.

As I read between the lines in that New York Times article, I’m bothered by the idea that we’d actually have to ask the authorities whether or not we can protest against them without them seeking some retribution of some nature. And it’s not that I’m disenchanted; to the contrary, I’ve never had more hope for the future. But it’s going to get worse before it gets better. I’m sad about that portion.

“Inside every cynical person is a disappointed idealist.” – George Carlin

Truer words were never spoken …

jose, who tries to turn his cynicism into action …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Jose VilsonWhat Will It Take?

Comments 9

  1. Tracy Rosen

    This is not we. This is China, which is a very different kind of we. But I sense that you are worried this is where we are heading. I sense that through this post and your last.

    Cynicism poisons my motivation for change. I know this about myself so I purposefully disallow it. I shake it off when I feel it coming. I have to. Some have called me a blind optimist and I’ve become comfortable in that. I refuse to allow any part of me to believe that something I see as necessary won’t happen. I think that is why I became a teacher… “Teaching is the greatest act of optimism. ” (Colleen Wilcox)

    George Carlin also said “And then there are the times when the wolves are silent and the moon is howling.” The challenge is to maintain hope and positive energy until it is our time to howl again.

    Tracy Rosens last blog post..Taking Action

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    Jose

    Actually, in New York, I know that groups who want to hold protests and demonstrations have to register, and for the Republican National Convention held here back in 04, they designated an area for where they could protest. They didn’t make us do it individually, but we still had limits of where and when we could protest, and the groups still had to fill out a form and get a permit. Same with when I was in Syracuse (not that we didn’t break that rule, but you know).

    With that said, there’s a reason for the cynicism. Yes, it’s great to be positive as I usually am, but the cynicism keeps the optimist in me critical and informed. It’s about balance. Even as teachers, because it is as much as profession as it is a calling, we can’t always teach our children to be optimists; they have to have a touch of cynicism about how the world works in order to survive.

    So going back to the original quote, notice Carlin’s as cynical as they come, but that’s because and not in spite of his optimism. It’s not impossible to be both.

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  4. Tracy Rosen

    Here is where we disagree. I do not think that cynicism is a healthy balance to optimism. It holds me back. According to Carlin, in that quote, it is a result of disappointment.

    I can be critical. Hell no, I must be critical so that I can understand my reactions to actions, events, and the words I hear about them. but being critical does not have to be accompanied by cynicism. I hold fast to hope.

    Tracy Rosens last blog post..What it takes.

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    Jose

    I guess it’s really about life experiences. How can I not be disappointed in what’s going on and what continues to be so? It doesn’t mean I’m hopeless, which I’m not. However, for as many optimists are there are out here, there are just as many people who only seek self-interest and lack the same value system we may have.

    I’m not saying that you personally should change your worldview, but my tinge of cynicism is just enough to keep me humble, consistent, and observant. We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

  6. Tracy Rosen

    Yes. We all have different ways to help us do what we do, what we feel is right in our hearts. I combat disappointment with hope (or optimism) you temper that with cynicism. Others do it their way. The essential is that we strive to change the disapppointment and since we both do that…we can disagree here ;)

    Tracy Rosens last blog post..What it takes.

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