When we were young, my sister and I used to scour the ditches of the country roads surrounding our property for aluminum cans. Our father equipped us with boots and gloves so that our units of progress would be kept unscathed on our ventures, and we’d fill plastic bags with Mountain Dew and Bud Light cans until our sacks were overflowing, leaving them where they had reached capacity until our hunt had been deemed a success.
I later realized our father gave us this opportunity for multiple reasons. It got us out of the house, allowing us to release our energy while exercising our bodies, and more importantly to me, our minds. I used to imagine that if I didn’t nab 50 cans by the next approaching fence post, the proverbial “they” would win — whoever “they” were. We were also cleaning up our land, and to an extent of which I didn’t understand at the time, our planet. Lastly, we were understanding the value of an income, as Dad would take us to the recycling center and give us the money the aluminum salvation had produced. I miss those days when earning $20 made you rich for a month.
I was sitting out on the porch today and thought of those marches down the inverted shoulders of the road, and in turn about the upcoming presidential election. One of the most important decisions we as individuals will be making in recent memory, the time has once again arrived for us to choose who we want to lead our country.
I must admit that I have not embraced opportunities to inquire about governmental policies as much as I could have in my life, but that is because I’ve always felt a sneaking suspicion that I am listening to an inebriated individual rationalizing to an officer, or a salesman selling the quickest route to his bank account rather than the selection of his product.
I understand that each person with the ability of analysis has an opinion of both candidates, be it overt infatuation, mere disagreement or extreme disgust. We are all susceptible to bias, and often time, affiliation that has been ingrained in our outlook tends to overwhelm our decisions. I have heard that President Obama is a savior for our nation, and also that he is the Antichrist. Literally, my ears have heard different people say both of those statements. I don’t agree with either. I have also been told that Gov. Romney will be a president for the people, every financial and social categorization of them. I find myself failing to believe that is true while simultaneously hoping that it is.
My friend posted a beautiful analogy on Facebook a few weeks ago. What do you want when riding as a passenger in a plane? I want a pilot who knows how to successfully lift the vessel carrying us all off the ground. I want that person to efficiently maneuver the great metal crane across the atmosphere, surpassing the tests of turbulence that are inevitable on every flight. Most importantly, though, I need that person to allow both wings to balance each other out, allowing them to work together to take us from where we once were to where we want to be. If you don’t have the left wing and the right wing harmoniously level the entirety of the trip, then we realize the wreckage in some foreign field far from destination.
What do I want from our next president? I want someone who isn’t currently lying to us in any way, someone who does not live up to previous expectations, but exceeds them with creative and constructive methods of humanity that includes us all in the inner circle, together to construct the fortress indestructible that we all long for in our hearts and minds.
Mr. President, I ask that you join me in picking up the pieces that have been pitched into the ditch. There are many, and you will need our help, but we are waiting for your instruction on how to rise into the skies. I promise you that the only way you will succeed is if you meet us on the streets with a mission to march, that we might all come out cleaner on the other side.
Eric Engel, formerly of Tiskilwa but now of Madison, Wis., can be reached at email@example.com.