activism Karen Dolan

Three Reasons to Be Hopeful in 2022

This year could still see big changes for the better. Here’s how.
[Joe Flood / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

By Karen Dolan | OtherWords

There’s no getting around it: 2021 was a tough year. As with 2020, many of us were glad to see its back end. Do let the door hit you on the way out.

Yet, there was more than just Senator Joe Manchin’s coal and Omicron fears in our stockings this holiday season. There were some reasons to be hopeful too.

The first reason to be hopeful is — us. We the people.

Social movements, struggling families, activists, and advocates are crushed that Republicans and Senator Manchin have set back the Build Back Better Act. But these movements have done worlds to make long-hoped-for improvements in our economy possible — and they aren’t going anywhere.

You “can’t just beat the living crap out of people and think they’ll be submissive,” a defiant Manchin said in a recent interview. Well, he’s right on that point. That’s why so many struggling West Virginian families are protesting outside of his yacht, his Maserati, and his offices in West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

They’re calling on Manchin to renew the Child Tax Credit payments that have helped 93 percent of West Virginian families and 65 million children and families across the country.

They’re calling on him to support the Build Back Better programs for job training and better wages as the coal industry continues to decline in West Virginia. And they’re calling on Manchin to support the plan’s provisions for child and elder care, cheaper prescription drugs, and hearing, dental, and vision care for seniors.

Second, there are still opportunities to get federal legislation that will help to reduce poverty. They won’t have the sweeping positive impacts that the Build Back Better Act would have, but there are still possibilities that can happen with a simple majority through the budget process.

For instance, Manchin is in favor of universal pre-kindergarten. He has also signaled he is in favor of extending the 2021 subsidies to help people afford health care through the Affordable Care Act. He supports some child care assistance, and something most likely will be done to keep some of the enhancements of the Child Tax Credit. Manchin also has indicated that he is for more taxation on the rich.

Manchin could also conceivably get to yes with a different comprehensive bill. Perhaps it will be the Better Than Nothing bill, but will still be aptly named.

Third, the entire Democratic party, including Manchin, is in favor of some kind of voting rights legislation in 2022. Unfortunately, they aren’t united on going around the filibuster to get it — Manchin and fellow conservative Democrat Senator Krysten Sinema have opposed that route.

But that brings us back to social movements and hard-working families around the nation.

If we want the economy to move forward equitably, to meet the challenges of increasing climate disasters, to care for our children, to fairly reward hard work, and a robust safety net for times of pandemic and hardship, we need to fight for the right to vote for those who will accomplish those things.

Because of egregious GOP gerrymandering and the explosion of voter-suppression bills in Republican-controlled states, the foundation of our democracy — the right to vote, no matter where we live or what we look like — hangs in the balance. We must and can fight for this.

We won’t be submissive either. Even when things feel hard, this much remains: We are the hope we are hoping for.

Karen Dolan

Karen Dolan

Karen Dolan directs the Criminalization of Race and Poverty Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. This op-ed was distributed by


  1. The premise that we have to bow down or beg to or wait for pigs like politicians and corporate thugs to get anything is the blaring sickness of United Snakes of Amnesia. Do you get 2022? Do you get the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Do you get lockdowns and mandates? Do you get Zoom Doom? Colonization of academe? Do you understand who controls distribution of food in USA? C&S does 7,900 grocery stores in USA? You think that billionaire will be on board with the people? Do you think Biden the Wannabe Bomber will be on board with diplomacy with Iran, Syria, Cuba, Russian, Venezuela, et al? Do you have hope there his crummy Ivy League woke idiots will somehow grow new neural pathways?

    Hope? Can we just let people have their own personal relationship with their own delusions about what hope is? And not blast it over a digital zine? It frankly is embarassing. Submissiveness IS following the corrupted “science” of Fauci and Pharma and Mandates and QR codes and mandatory shots, boosters, and crypto codes with our health recods and all other records tied to the cloud.

    Submissive is a society that doesn’t, en mass, question the authority of the state and the corporation glued together in neofascist style. This writer may have a nice gig at “an institute,” but the rest of us have to be teachers, journalists, social workers, workers in general under the thumb of those hopeless bastards called capitalists with the work of their Eichmann’s and little pencil-mouse pushers following orders.

    Beyond Hope — Jensen:

    THE MOST COMMON WORDS I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, We’re fucked. Most of these environmentalists are fighting desperately, using whatever tools they have — or rather whatever legal tools they have, which means whatever tools those in power grant them the right to use, which means whatever tools will be ultimately ineffective — to try to protect some piece of ground, to try to stop the manufacture or release of poisons, to try to stop civilized humans from tormenting some group of plants or animals. Sometimes they’re reduced to trying to protect just one tree.

    Here’s how John Osborn, an extraordinary activist and friend, sums up his reasons for doing the work: “As things become increasingly chaotic, I want to make sure some doors remain open. If grizzly bears are still alive in twenty, thirty, and forty years, they may still be alive in fifty. If they’re gone in twenty, they’ll be gone forever.”

    But no matter what environmentalists do, our best efforts are insufficient. We’re losing badly, on every front. Those in power are hell-bent on destroying the planet, and most people don’t care.

    Frankly, I don’t have much hope. But I think that’s a good thing. Hope is what keeps us chained to the system, the conglomerate of people and ideas and ideals that is causing the destruction of the Earth.

    To start, there is the false hope that suddenly somehow the system may inexplicably change. Or technology will save us. Or the Great Mother. Or beings from Alpha Centauri. Or Jesus Christ. Or Santa Claus. All of these false hopes lead to inaction, or at least to ineffectiveness. One reason my mother stayed with my abusive father was that there were no battered women’s shelters in the ’50s and ’60s, but another was her false hope that he would change. False hopes bind us to unlivable situations, and blind us to real possibilities.

    Does anyone really believe that Weyerhaeuser is going to stop deforesting because we ask nicely? Does anyone really believe that Monsanto will stop Monsantoing because we ask nicely? If only we get a Democrat in the White House, things will be okay. If only we pass this or that piece of legislation, things will be okay. If only we defeat this or that piece of legislation, things will be okay. Nonsense. Things will not be okay. They are already not okay, and they’re getting worse. Rapidly.

    But it isn’t only false hopes that keep those who go along enchained. It is hope itself. Hope, we are told, is our beacon in the dark. It is our light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. It is the beam of light that makes its way into our prison cells. It is our reason for persevering, our protection against despair (which must be avoided at all costs). How can we continue if we do not have hope?

  2. I suspect the president Biden will in 2022, proclaim that the American people will have a skate board in every garage and a jelly fish in every pot.

  3. Wake up lady! No CCP influencing and no clot shot! Socialism and Communism have never worked and do not work. We have to fight for our American Culture. OWN THE CULTURE!

  4. ruling class Dolan pathetic—manchin reflects W Virginia where trump won by 39% over the ruling class candidate Biden….bbb merely enriches the oligarchy

  5. Oh. Those Republicans and Democrats….. here’s corporate despotism…..
    This is a suprise? Effing Biden Obama Clinton Bush…. all of them are so happy their buddy Jaime can lawyer up and still smarmy himself out of his bed of shit. Oh, grifters of capitalism. So many millions seeinga sucker or mark or victim born every nanosecond.

    JP Morgan’s suing thousands now. Planned pandemic profiteering now moving back to the next level.

  6. Ms. Dolan,

    You must have been raised to settle for crumbs to write a post like this.

    You must not have a broad understanding of how dire the situation is with the climate and the environment to write a post like this.

    You must not see the bigger picture that these politicians aren’t working for us, disdain us, and will only do as their corporate overloads instruct them to in order to write a post like this.

    Unless, of course, you are a corporate plant.

    1. Bandwidth (limited), anti-systems thinkiing, see-hear-speak no evilism, fear of thinking many contradictory narratives at once, false hope, and, well, the stuff is right there in front of your face. If you are watching a building, say, in LA, and then behind you, another building is hit by a plane and goes up in flames, and then that building across the city you have been watching through binoculars comes crashing down, well, did the plane that hit the other building cause the building across town to go down? Hmm, not directly, right?

      But why did it collapse. At that moment or a day later, what have you? What are the connections? Are there none? Who wants to get together and discuss the cause and effects, the entire scenario?

      So, 2020-2022-2100, we are now in a space where we can’t ask questions, make suppositions, deal with facts and with hypotheticals, talk the big idea talk, utilizing critical thinking?

      Well, 2022 just does not bode well. When Iran’s nuclear power station gets hit by Israel, hmm, no big questions. When US is aiding and abetting and fueling these color revoltutions, hmm, not big think tank, multiple perspective robust discussiona and arugments?

      Hmm, not very hopeful.

      Lecture by Ernst Wolff, renowned German economist and journalist. His focus is the on the global financial and monetary system, especially the role of the IMF, the World Bank, the Federal Reserve, the Bretton Woods system and the worldwide fiat money.
      This speech is probably one of the best and most concise exposés of the whole Corona narrative and ends on a hopeful message of what we can do to prevent the dystopian vision of Klaus Schwab and his supporters becoming ‘the new normal’.
      This text was originally published in German in August 2021. To access the video with English subtitles click here: or scroll down.
      First published by Global Research on January 3, 2022
      President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said “Nothing happens accidentally in politics. And when something happens, you can bet on it that it was exactly planned that way.”

      When one looks at what has happened in the last year and a half, these words are especially alarming.

      After studying this topic in detail for 18 months, I must say that there is an impressive number of signs and indications, pointing in exactly in that direction. It’s this, and the consequences thereof that I want to talk about today.

      The current situation we find ourselves in is unique in the history of mankind. Never before has the whole world been thrown under the rule of this type of coercive regime as we are experiencing now. And never have so many measures been taken which at first glance appears so unintelligible, partly so nonsensical, and in many cases, so contradictory.

      But many have already been parsing and investigating these and other elements of the Gulag of the Digitalization of Body-Mind-Land-Thought-Culture Snatching!

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