The Power of Hope

The past columns have been very optimistic about the Philippines. Some friends who have read my last column ‘Till death do us part’ even found it mushy. What I have tried to project are the real life situations on how we define success as we live in this physical world.

Now, with the change in leadership in America, the question asked is “Will Obama save America and the world?”

For those who stayed up late to watch Obama’s inauguration and speech, it was truly historical. Being the first black president, he is now the world’s most famous man, who has a gargantuan task of not only saving America, but also the world.

Looking at the faces of Americans, many of whom were in tears, they know that the United States of America is now facing one of their greatest challenges. Somehow, many of them already know what lies ahead. A lot of Americans are suffering from defaulting home mortgages, credit cards being maxed out, retirement funds losing a lot of its value, among many other problems. For the very few who have savings, they are now earning less than one percent on their deposits. Their worst problem is the part of not knowing if they will still have jobs the next day.

Indeed, it was a very sad ending for President Bush to see him fly off that way, leaving America the way it is. Obama will have to prepare for this. The biggest challenge is for him to keep his foot on the ground. He must realize that it is indeed his destiny to become president at a time like this. He will be tested in this crisis. Sometimes, power changes people.

While African-Americans have dominated different sports, this is a chance for Obama to show that color or race is not a factor in excelling as a leader of a country like America. I do hope he will be like Michael Jordan in playing basketball or a Tiger Woods in golf.

Obama will be the hero of the game and save the world from entering the great depression like the one in the 1930s. So much expectation is being laid in front of someone who, at the age of 47, has not experienced any crisis of this magnitude. While it is easy to have the “Yes We Can” slogan, leading a nation to believe is the challenge. America is pinning their hopes on him, and so is the world. Obama will have to initiate the team effort from every American. They have to prepare and expect that things will get to worst before it gets better. This will then be the stage when American patriotism will be tested once again.

I am without a doubt that many Americans will rise to this challenge. In order to do this, they must start at the root of all problems – spending beyond ones means. This will have to be changed over time. The attitude towards excessive credit will have to change. This will take time. In the process, pain has to come through. But, let us not underestimate the power of hope. This has brought forth many miracles. Nothing is impossible if hope is still alive. This is what Obama brings to America today.

In the Philippines, we have seen the power of hope. During the Marcos dictatorship, an organization called Namfrel headed by my father started to light the candle of hope. Despite the odds, it was like David and Goliath when they were guarding the ballots with their own lives. Millions of Filipino volunteers brought hope. When Ninoy decided to come back, it further increased the power of hope. When he was assassinated, rather than people losing hope, the people power revolution started. Since then, we have had four presidents: Cory Aquino, Joseph Estrada, Fidel Ramos, and PGMA.

Many people will say that the poor are still the same; that this country has not moved forward; that the level of corruption is at its highest. While I may agree to some of these statements, and yes many of these exist today at varying degrees, it has been four presidents since then. What will change things for us? Maybe it is time that we rethink our approach. Let us start projecting the best things in this country, which will continue to inspire people to do good and not only good but their very best. Let us project the stories of countless Filipino OFWs who sacrifice and leave their families so that they can earn money, send their children to school, and give them a bright future. Let us also project the good work of civic organizations that are helping people.

Go Negosyo also continues to project the heroes of poverty, who are the entrepreneurs from micro, small, medium to large. Hopefully, let us pray for religious organizations to stop fighting each other, but instead continue to provide the right Christian virtues that are needed in times like these. Hopefully, our friends in the media will be able to project more of the good news, similar to what an OFW TV host Rico Hizon is doing. Rico also has a website that talks about only the good news. We have to keep inspiring people. Through this, gradually in time, people will be proud to be Filipinos and the rest will follow. Let us not underestimate the power of hope. This is the only thing left with our Filipino OFWs, the countless microentrepreneurs out there and our fellow Filipinos below the poverty line.

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Let me share with you other feedback from readers of this column:

“Hi Joey! Tuwa at Tawa para sa mga pilipinong naniniwala sa magagandang mangyayari pa sa ating bansa sa hinaharap.”Ernie Cordero

“I personally experienced the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur last 2008.The “downs” hit me hard to the point of losing grip on my faith to achieve recovery. Thank you Mr. Concepcion for reminding me that despite all these, there is HOPE! More power to you and Go Negosyo!!” Engelyn Belmonte

“yap i still believe we can make it joey! its just a matter of holding the line and pushing the rope for success and victory, from the mistakes we have learned i think we are prepared to be matured enough to face such challenges” Art Zambrano

“Your recent article entitled “Till Death Do us Part” made me teary-eyed. Truly, it is so saddening to hear of people cutting short their lives due to depression. I remember my Papa who passed away in 1998 due to cancer. We saw how he battled it out till he finally accepted his fate. Thank you for continuously inspiring us, your readers. Thank you for making us still believe that more than material wealth, there are more important things in life – happiness, contentment, peace of mind.”Techie Gonzales

“I have been reading your column and have always been inspired by your perspective. Your column today brings us back to what really matters in life. The global economic recession is a wake up call. It makes us realize that what really makes people happy are rooted in the non-material matters of life: relationship, peace, love, hope, contentment, joy.” Herman Moldez