Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hope is a dangerous thing.

“Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”
…………………………………………….Red (Morgan Freeman), The Shawshank Redemption, 1994

When Stephen King wrote the short story "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" he had no idea that the movie of the story would become a box office success and garner 7 Oscar nominations. But it did.

Stephen King, writer of classic stories such as The Stand, Cujo, Tommyknockers and myriad other masterful suspense thrillers, often with a paranormal or scifi element, stepped out from his preferred genre and wrote a prison break story.

A prison break, feel good story at that.

And a surprisingly good one.

With one HUGE and very surprising insight that many people did not understand until we, as a Nation, threw caution to the wind and elected a man to the highest office in the land based on nothing more than the promise of Hope.

In Stephen King’s book, Red narrates the story of Andy Dufresne who spent 19 years in prison for the murder of his wife. Of course, he was innocent….but so was everybody in Shawshank with the exception of Red who claimed his guilt.

Andy survived on Hope. Red warned that Hope was a dangerous thing. The battle lines were drawn…and a 19 year friendship endured all that could be thrown at it.

When I look at today’s America, I see a land that is torn between the Hope that Obama promised, and the warning that hope is a dangerous thing.

Roughly half the country puts it’s faith in the ability of one man being able to resolve the country’s problems. One man, who through sheer force of will and ego should be able to persuade the other half of the country to change their deeply held beliefs and join with him in making his promise of hope a reality rather than the empty and dangerous promise it is.

The other half of the country looks at the problems that we are facing as a nation and believes that with sheer guts and determination, with honesty, pride and accountability, the individuals of this nation can band together to pull this Nation out of its current malaise. Get that one man with his false message of hope out of the way….get the government with its platitudes and waste out of the way….let the real people drag this country, kicking and screaming if need be, into a future where the rising tide lifts all boats.

No greater division of philosophy could ever be imagined in even the most fevered, hallucinogenic dreams of Tolkien, Donaldson and the many fantasy writers who try to make sense of the insensible. Timothy Leary could not have imagined, in his deepest LSD trips, a world where the divide between Hope and Reality was so great.

When I first read the philosophical differences played out between the two main characters…Red and Andy….and it was clear that the different views of Hope did not destroy a burgeoning friendship, my mind questioned the reality of this. How could these two characters actually get along with such fundamental philosophical differences? Could this also happen in today’s world with fundamentally differing views of hope?

The answer was found in something else that Red said…

“I'm the guy who can get if for you; cigarettes, a bag of refer, if that's your thing, a bottle of brandy to celebrate your kid's high school graduation, damn near anything within reason. Yes sir, I'm a regular Sears and Roebuck.”
……………………………………………… Red (Morgan Freeman), The Shawshank Redemption, 1994

You see Red was the “go to” guy. He was the guy that provided the trinkets that helped support the notion of hope. While he himself thought Hope was a dangerous thing, he was the one who provided the material evidence that Hope existed.

The “go to” guy. If you want something, go see Red.

Of course, you had to pay for it.

Now I have a real dichotomy on my hands. How could the purveyor of Hope be the one who believes Hope is dangerous?

Three years ago, I found that answer.

Three years ago this Country elected Red to the presidency.

Today, in the White House we have a man who knows that Hope is a dangerous thing. A man who knows that by being the purveyor of hope, by giving the supplicants what they want, at a cost, he can deceive them into believing that Hope is good. But Hope based on the actions of someone else is not hope at all…it is serfdom. And Obama knows this, just as Red knew it.

There is a reason Stephen King chose the name Red as his main character….it is a reference to his underlying philosophy. The man who controls the flow of trinkets, the man who can “get anything within reason”, the man who dishes out helpings of hope in the form of cigarettes, or brandy or pictures of Rita Heyworth, is also the man who can dispense control over every aspect of your life.

Centralized control.

Control of the free flow of trinkets, the bartering for favors, the “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours corruption” that can be found in every political party and deeply entrenched within every Administration since Adam was a boy, has found its way to the Oval Office…where it is now wielded as a weapon of great potency in the class and social warfare that this President of Hope has contrived to ensure future electoral wins.

He stands arrogantly offering party favors to those who would embrace his version of Hope while denying the reality that that form of hope will cost more than it is worth. He manipulates congress with threats and such terms of endearment as “traitors, obstructionists, intransigents”. The hot water/cold water therapy of trinkets followed by bullying works on those who have succumbed to a belief in Hope….Hope dispensed by the Imposter-in-Chief, sitting atop his throne high above the armies of blacks, unions, unemployed, government workers, liberals, progressives and general slime balls; all willing to sacrifice honor and truth on the altar of Hope.

Beware the man who preaches hope but knows of its dangers. Beware the man who controls the trinket warehouses. Beware the man who divides the nation based on color, creed, and effort. Beware the man who buys loyalty with one hand while brandishing the means for your total annihilation in the other. Beware those who would put their Hope in one man…one man who decries the truth of history and supports policies that have only one end result…economic destruction.


It is indeed a dangerous thing that can drive a man insane. Insanity derived from jealousy. Insanity derived from lusting after what someone else has. Insanity that is nurtured and fed, provided with trinkets and party favors, watered with “false rights”. Insanity that eventually breaks the bounds of societal acceptance and attacks those that have worked, that have saved, that have shown good sense, that have made good decisions.

The man-of hope wants the poor to hate the rich, the black to hate the white, the unemployed to hate the employed. He wants the bridges burned, the passions ignited. He wants America to fear the night.

Because then he can shine his light and offer….hope.

And THAT is Monopoly hope. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go direct to Jail.

And once in jail…Red will be there, the “go to: guy….the guy who understands the danger of Hope and who sells it to you in whatever form you want it.

Unfortunately….that sort of Hope is what got you there in the first place and it will keep you there for as long as Red controls it.

On the other hand, Andy found a way out. Andy…the one who believed in Hope….he believed in the Hope of his own hand, not the Hope disguised as trinkets from a tyrant.

If you haven’t seen the Shawshank Redemption, or have not seen it for a long time, take a couple of hours and watch it. Watch the friendship, the feel good hope and the interplay between good and evil.

You will find yourself rooting for Andy. You will find yourself rooting for Red. You will find yourself wanting to see Red discover where true Hope was to be found.

Pity the idiot in the White House has no desire to understand real hope. That would not help his agenda. Without his ability to give freebies to the masses, his type of hope would wither and die on the vine. Oh how I wish that it had been still born three years ago!

Hope….understand it well, for it has been stolen by the left. Learn the true meaning of hope and do not be fooled again.



  1. Wonderfully written essay, woven with spot on parallels! A great read!

  2. Thank you Anonymous,

    If my ramblings are able to convert one person from the temptation of false hope, and direct them to the sanctity of truth, then it is well worth it.

    To find that people enjoy my writing is a huge bonus. :)


  3. In the markets Hope is worse than fear and has made many a man poor. Thanks for your essay I too enjoyed it.

  4. Thanks Anonymous,

    yes, the stock market takes no pity on those with misplaced hope. A bit like our politicians!!