B9: What Do You Say?
[Can a decision to decline a call for public service be a superior act of service? 11-3-14]
BACKGROUND AND QUERY
Growing up just outside of Chicago I acquired a testimony of the resurrection quite early, for every two years the "dead arose and voted" in great numbers.
For this poem, we must enter our "Wayback Machine" [Google it] and return to early 2012 and the last presidential election cycle. Numerous "front runners" arose and then fell as media sought for dominion and control over the electorate--good men became "offenders for a word" and a fickle public was easily manipulated.
In this regard, one elderly candidate, a statesman with a fanatical minority following, was rejected by his party's nomination process. His supporters demanded that he run as an "independent third party candidate". He was faced with, perhaps, the most momentous decision of his career--accept the majority's will or continue his campaign. I published the following in various public "Boards", although I am sure that he never saw the piece:
What Do You Say?
What do you say, when the crowds go away,
When you’re old, and ailing, and spent?
What can you do, when the faithful you knew,
Are too aged or heaven sent?
You’ve an old man’s rough chin, and your skin is too thin,
From a lifetime spent in the fight.
And the battles won, and the battles lost,
Don't yet prove you were wrong or right.
Spoiled children now stare at the “old man there”,
They dismiss those with wrinkles as weak.
It is youth’s selfish rule now to worship young fools,
And your wisdom they no longer seek.
Can you ponder defeat, can you plan a retreat,
If some claim you are useless and spent?
When you’re children are grown, will they think on their own,
If they do, can you bear their dissent?
These questions may burn, when the tables are turned,
You’re now leader and champion to few.
And the dreams you inspired, when you knew youth’s desire,
Disappeared like a morning’s brief dew.
If you should lose your way, then I pray that each day,
You’ll recall how you made the earth shake.
How your brilliance was heard, with those magical words,
That you mourn you can now rarely make.
Though you’ll yet pass away, please recall “in the day”,
You compelled the respect of vast crowds.
And while it may be many still disagree,
They’ll admit that Death cannot be proud.
And when comes the time, in fate’s judgment line,
You are called on to make your report.
You can stand tall and strong, and despite mortal wrongs,
You’ll be honored in God’s holy court.
AFTERWARD AND QUESTION
The candidate refused his acolytes' demands that he continue his campaign. He supported the party's choice while still continuing his active support of our freedoms by speaking with eloquence and fervor about critical public issues. He may be an aging lion, but his wisdom still carries weight and he can still roar.
Again and again, the dilemma of whether declining a call for public service may be a superior act of service returns. A veritable army of "would be Presidential contenders" are earnestly jockeying for position far in advance of the 2016 election cycle. Is there some point at which, "their time has passed" and they should step aside? We must pray that those faced with this quandary will receive Heaven's guidance to do what is best for the Republic. As the myriad "hopefuls" ponder their future, they might do well to study the life of George Washington, of whom the Smithsonian Magazine wrote: "George Washington: The Reluctant President. It seemed as if everyone rejoiced at the election of our first chief executive except the man himself."