Hope in many ways is the anti-sarcasm. Whereas sarcasm calls out, hope speaks into. Whereas sarcasm cuts and explodes, hope seeks to heal and mend. Yet, the two are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, sarcasm works best when it’s enveloped in hope – hope steels sarcasm against the aggressive tides of cynicism.
The late great educator Howard Zinn says it better than I could hope to, and with a wee bit more mileage under him, I think his words are more trustworthy as well:
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magniﬁcently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an inﬁnite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in deﬁance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
If sarcasm is to be rarely used, hope is an integral weapon in our battles. We should never just hope that we will win, however, but that we may win over and, indeed, not just change our enemies into bitter, mortal enemies, but to change both themselves and ourselves into better people (this of course is getting into my fourth weapon, the other great overlapping one).