By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
Rarely do I delve into the deep end of politics, the righteous rip tide of religion or even discussions of personal preference in regards to matters of supreme subjection. Being of simple mind, many of the grayest areas are tucked in the corner of right and wrong. I find comfort in keeping my position private. The pending election has stirred the river bed and brought much dirt to the surface. Dirt for everyone to see, swirl and clump and fall as it may.
Pundits, preachers even preschool teachers debate the latest buzzword, the most recent cause and the body language of the messenger. Similar to little kids making a Christmas list, people talk of issues that will miraculously be solved once the name on the oval office desk is confirmed. Dreams of resolution and brighter days are evident in often childlike anticipation of what lies ahead. Even the most intellectual type, paint with water color on the canvas of their preferred candidate. The change or reinstatement of one man is propped powerfully on a pedestal of intent.
My sister and I would make our Christmas lists without limit, adding, subtracting and methodically expressing our dreams of objects, events and moments we were certain would find their way through closed doors, locked windows, and dogs that would bark at shuttered breath. Any possible obstacle the coldest of Mississippi winters could bring, one list attained on one day, somehow eased the realization of the often harshness of frozen fields and restricted play. Trips to far off places, bikes with bells and baskets and toys that talked back were repeat requests. Looking back, many of those items and wishes I already had tucked in a trunk; however, the act of wishing for overnight satisfaction was far greater than the gift. Santa would bring new and shiny gifts that required no dusting or repair. Logic crept in reminding even my naive soul of the obvious odds against an intruder cloaked in velvet sliding through a chimney; however, the bliss of blind belief chipped away the doubt.
Ceremonious ribbons, tinsel and decorated paper lay strewn across our home with the realization that months of anticipation are gone. The gifts, the toys, the promises of trips and special moments lay before us comfortably in the area of gray. Santa is credited with meeting the expectations as exhausted parents beam pride through over spent eyes. Without our anticipation, our dreams and requests sit lifelessly waiting for direction. The dolls don’t dance, the bikes stay motionless and the trips lay waiting.
The issues we champion during the election time often find themselves at the bottom of the pile. Once passionately defended and promoted quickly sit comfortably cloaked in gray once the vote is tallied. Does the process of change and anticipation of hope trump change and hope itself? With a nation so torn and so lost in translation, will the wish lists ever meet expectations? Will action be reinstated where argument resides?
It is my simple mind that dreams of a nation so strong, so self-sufficient and so retainable that wish lists are left for Christmas, and to-do lists start at home. A nation that doesn’t anxiously await one man to somehow slip through brick walls, slide through locked doors and deliver gifts that come with debt and obligation. I crave the work ethic of my grandparents, the common sense of my father and the pride of my neighbors. My hopes are not placed in one man on one day who rallies behind wish lists. My hopes lie within the people.
The election is coming; the tinsel and balloons will fall. One will claim victory while millions of anxious men and women watch with childlike hope, childlike expectation. Radiant red, bold blue and wishful white will fade. Within us, within our families and within our walls lies the only answer, the only gifts our country seeks. A leader is only as strong as those he leads, those he reflects and those who hold him accountable.