The Corner

Hope Is On The Way

Going back to Edwards for a moment: a reader points out to me, correctly,

that “Hope is on the way” is semantically problematic.

Hope is a mental state. You either have it or you don’t. If you have it,

you are anticipating something good in the future — something which may, or

(if the hope is a false one) may not show up. So “hope is on the way” would

mean: “You don’t have any hope right now. But one day soon, you will have

some hope. Then, at some unspecified time after that, you may (or may not)

have the thing, or be in the condition, you were hoping for.”

What a politician really wants to say at an event like this is: “Hope is

here! I am your hope!”

I guess this is really nitpicking. But it’s late, I sat through the whole

of that dreadful Kerry speech, and the Glenmorangie stands an inch lower in

the bottle than it did at 10 o’clock.

“The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure,

but from hope to hope.”—Rasselas

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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