Recently I've been thinking about faith. What does it mean to have faith? A lot of it, in both a religious and political context, has to do with hoping for things that we can't see. It takes faith in the system to cast a ballot and trust it will be counted. It takes faith to believe in a God you can't see. Faith is a prerequisite to both democracy and religion, but it seems to be undermined by a lot of forces in our society.
Faith in the media is undermined when pundits on the left and right shout at each other instead of focusing on the truly important stories. Trust in our elected leaders is undermined when we can't let them operate in broad daylight because then they won't be able to talk freely. When people we have judged to be guilty walk free, we lose a little faith in the impartiality of our justice system.
This isn't to say that bind faith is needed. I believe God gave us brains and rationality so we could use them, and of course a healthy dose of skepticism is, well, healthy. Political tyrants and religious cult leaders alike feed off the passive believers. But the opposite of blind faith is equally as dangerous, it's a stubborn refusal to trust others, to trust God (and His timing), or to hope. That kind of cynicism is a cancer on the body politic.
Emily Dickinson wrote that "hope is a thing with feathers," and our society needs more of that flight-enabling quality. I need more of it, too.