Parking Lots Full of Hope

A review of quotable quotes from the Democratic National Convention fails to mention my favorite.

In Hillary’s Presidential nomination acceptance speech she said, “way too many dreams die in the parking lots of banks” is a catchphrase both for hope and despair.

Surely political candidates at every level of local, state and national office take swipes at their opponent. Oftentimes, the higher the stakes the more personal and vituperative the swipe.

This presidential election featuring Clinton and Trump will be a record setter in the pathology of insult transference. One doesn’t disclose enough the other over discloses.

Both candidates refrain from referring to each other as my opponent, Mr. Trump and Madame Secretary, to name volleys of incompetent, intemperate, crook, devil are disheartening.

Voters and all Americans yearn for leadership.

Who is the better leader in times of crisis, who can carry the country on their back, who will motivate us to be a better person?

Acting presidential is ultimately a priori. What models are to beauty, role models are to respect.

Hillary’s “parking lot” metaphor, though spoken as a criticism of banks lending practices, nevertheless reflects hope.

Individual home buyers seeking a mortgage, or a business owner applying for an expanded credit line to purchase equipment may sit disappointed in the banks parking lot. His or her failure to be approved for the mortgage or credit line is a setback.

But these dreams need not be shattered.

Success in many forms emanates from ones ability to bounce back from failure. And who hasn’t experienced a failure in life?

Just as individuals occasionally experience failure so too do nations.

At some point in our lives don’t we all sit in that parking lot? It’s that space and time we reflect on a setback, a missed opportunity.

We thought we’d be married with a child by now. We may lose out on a promotion or get fired from our job. We may be turned down for a car loan or for a second date with that cool girl. We were eyeing those great pair of shoes until they went on sale only to miss them. The dream of becoming President marooned on cable network.

Large disappointments or inconsequential disappointments they all matter to us in a deeply personal way.

Hope, even in failed parking lots will bring a stronger tomorrow. Belittling an opponents vision or policy statements is fair game.

It gives oxygen to politics without reflecting despair.

Not only are 325 million Americans following our Presidential election so too are another billion or two people.

Calling a candidate crazy and that he can’t recover from being crazy is not talking politics. It’s talking personal to a vast number of people around the world. Never replace hope with despair.

During Hurricane Sandy in 2012 Governor Christie referred to people who insisted on watching the deadly storm on the beach as “stupid”. They were. The moniker was appropriate for the moment.  They put themselves in harms way and magnified it when rescue teams had to place their own lives in danger to help them.

Just as Hope in Arkansas was once touted as a mantra for the nation so too does our nation today similarly seek it. We need a switch from name calling to character strengthening, for only the latter fuels the engine called hope which fills parking lots occupied by banks serving both the 1% and the 99%.

Giving promise to hope does not require belittling the other person.

About the Author
David Mandel is Chief Executive Officer of OHEL Children's Home and Family Services in New York