Here is what I know to be true: Tuesday we will elect a new president; and my fifteen year-old son is driving.
While these may be completely unrelated events, it doesn’t negate the accuracy of the facts. No matter who is elected on Tuesday, my son will still be a newly-minted driver with a mother and father sitting in the awkward position of passenger.
That is to say, the world will go on.
My family (and presumably yours) will wake up Wednesday morning and go to work and to school. Next weekend we will rake leaves in the yard and line out our ski gear in anticipation of bountiful snow. We will still visit family for Thanksgiving and make plans to host them here for Christmas. In the face of worst economic crisis of my lifetime, I may spend a little more wisely this holiday season, but I admit to continuing on with plans for that romantic getaway next summer for my husband’s and my 20th wedding anniversary.
This coming winter and spring will be much like the last; my kids will outgrow their clothes and need braces and catch colds. They will play the piano and audition for theater shows and lift weights. My husband and I will sit in the stands on the basketball court and freeze on the slopes of local ski races. Our family will eat meals together, pray together and go to church.
What I know to be true is we will have a new president-elect in two days, and my life will be relatively unchanged.
However, what I want to be true is this: the new president will inspire confidence in America and friendship around the globe. I want us to elect a president who will restore our tarnished reputation and foster communication worldwide. I would love to know we elected a president who cares deeply about the environment and about creating alternative sources of fuel while protecting the beauty of our natural landscape. What I want to be true is we are one step closer to peace.
My list of wants is longer than this space, and much of it has to do with the world our kids will inherit and the tools they will have to lead us. And while achieving these things would have a dramatic and lasting effect on our lives, the simple truth remains: while the new president toils away in Washington, we will do what we have always done; we’ll be living our lives.
Mother Theresa said not everyone can achieve great things, but we can all achieve small things with great love. Unless a presidential candidate plucks me out of my living room to be his vice-presidential running mate (an unlikely proposition until Sarah Palin came along) I doubt I will achieve world peace on my own. But I can certainly achieve peace at home, and that’s something I will strive to do with great love.
So, like you, I’ll make my way to the polls on Tuesday with these things in my heart. Hope springs eternal.
And I may even let my son drive me to the polls.
Charla Belinski’s column runs every other Sunday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.
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