Do you think there’s such a thing as a realistic optimist? I consider myself one, but have been accused of simply being clueless about the “real world.” I disagree. I think looking directly at reality is essential as a first step. Optimism that hasn’t been formed by reality is denial. I need to unflinchingly look at what is happening, whether in my family, among my friends, or in the world. It is only after I’ve done my imperfect best to see what is happening that I can acknowledge the many things I am powerless to change. Then I can find the threads of what I can do to make things better. It’s a challenge, in a polarized society, to know what to believe. I find myself increasingly relying on public television and public radio for news. Too many lenses spoil the view.