Much protest is naive; it expects quick, visible improvement and despairs and gives up when such improvement does not come. Protesters who hold out for longer have perhaps understood that success is not the proper goal. If protest depended on success, there would be little protest of any durability or significance. History simply affords too little evidence that anyone’s individual protest is of any use. Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.

Wendell Berry (b. 1934) American farmer, educator, poet, conservationist
“A Poem of Difficult Hope,” What Are People For? (1990)
Added on 22-Feb-12 | Last updated 22-Feb-12
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