So yes, our hope resides in human beings. They are always the source of the trouble, and they are also the source of remedies to our troubles.
So we look to each other. Who will stand up, who will emerge? Usually it's someone from outside an established system, think - Mandela, MLK, Gandhi, or that street vendor (Mohamed Bouazizi) who torched himself in Tunisia.
One man (or woman) can be the spark for massive movements and change. Usually they have their eyes on a higher vision that lots of other folks can buy into. Usually these "leaders" are self-less, willing to risk everything for a grander vision of society.
And it's happening every day, all around us, although sometimes it's hard to see. It's always much easier to see things clearly later, sometimes decades later.
Now here in the States, it's all a little dicey. Change is supposedly built into the system but much of the establishment is so entrenched that even when we change the people in the suits, the actual on the street change seems minimal.
Our political system provides us with choices. We vote and take our chances. Still sometimes the choices have been stark, and you wonder how things would be different if certain contests had been decided differently (counter-factual history!).
What kind of country would we be if these contests had turned out counter-factually?
Humphrey vs. Nixon
McGovern vs. Nixon
Carter vs. Reagan
Mondale vs. Reagan
Gore vs. Bush
Kerry vs. Bush
And oh god no: McCain vs. Obama?!?