About the potential of politics, education, etc., I entertain both, usually at the same time. It has to do with two things: immediacy and velocity. I see terrific, intelligent, motivated and committed students. I see them do good things, think interesting and innovative thoughts. This is the immediate and the quick. I also see a slow-moving morass of policy, education, and politics in which nothing ever seems to happen, even when there are very promising possibilities that will nonetheless likely never be tested due to the basic snail's-pace velocity at which policy and politics moves. It all seems unmovable for an individual or a group (an "underfunded" one at least). This is how DC turns young idealists into older cynics. I'm caught between the two worlds, and have managed to maintain this status for years. I think you have to be an absurdist at heart to do that juggling act.
How about you?