“For even on the darkest and most dreary of days, the sun shines still — if we look high enough.”

When we were children, few things seems as daunting as the clouds.

Untamed and mighty, as children we witnessed them wholly consume the skies and engulf entire days.

The clouds held some ruling authority over a powerless humanity below. These stallions of the sky came and departed as only they, or the Almighty, pleased.

When swirls of black and gray drew near, we hastily retreated to shelter. For the clouds brought winds and rain and wrought startling claps of thunder. Tiny hearts would patter nervously as we would play a foreboding game of hide and seek: with every flash of lightning, we would delicately count, “One one-thousand… two one-thousand… three one-thousand…,” trying to time the storm’s distance from our rooftops.

And when the storm did pass, we would emerge victorious again, if only with egos bruised in knowing how little we control the circumstances of our daily affairs. But little else can be expected of children. When naïve eyes are filled with sights as endless and grand as the clouds, life becomes only what can be seen before them. To children, their world is a view from below.

The Darkness that Grips Us

As we age, we grow with knowledge that all clouds shall pass. With experience we encounter heavy gusts and battering rains, and we learn to weather them. When days and weeks are consumed by darkness and cold, with humility we grow to cherish those that bring bright, blue skies and the Sun’s nurturing warmth.

We grow from youth — to maturity from naïveté — confident always that the clouds shall pass.

Today, it takes not a child to see what clouds have consumed the skies of our country and the American people. While as children we would stare overhead and witness clouds gather in shades of gray and black, as adults in today’s America we look up and see ominous shadows of staggering unemployment, floundering industry, prolonged foreign wars, an unfathomable national debt, rampant bureaucratic ineptness and spirits of vehement anger, corruption and scandal gripping our elected leaders. Darkness has engulfed the skies of our country; storm clouds have consumed our psyche.

We fear that this storm may never break. Each thunderous clap shakes once-proud American hegemony as we, below, fear that our country’s best days are long in the past. With each lightning strike of crisis — spanning financial, mortgage, credit, housing, health care, and other industries — we count the seconds, “One one-thousand… two one-thousand… three one-thousand…” praying that the onslaught of these storms that have wrought such a heavy toll, may, finally, pass us by.

The View from Above

We learned long ago that storms all shall pass, if only with time. But today, amid such days of dire struggle and heartache, our concerns and fears and impatience about the storms over our rooftops do not originate in childlike naïveté, but from the very real and uncharacteristically abusive punishment that these storms have beset upon our country and our neighbors. The storms have been so severe and unusually prolonged that we naturally look to the men and women who lead us with unrealistic expectations: as if by our desperation and collective will, the country’s elected leaders might somehow summon the power to court the clouds to leave us.

With great impatience and mounting frustration, we Americans, a democratic people, place all of our Will, our hope and our faith in either one group of our elected leaders or the other. What we soon come to realize is that both groups, operating under their usually-deceitful guises of partisanship, independently and on their own possess as much a chance of raising our country from its dire standings as do a handful of children standing upon a hill, blowing with all their might to shoo the storm clouds away.

We Must Rely Upon Ourselves

The tradition of party partisanship that has gripped our elected leaders has finally run stagnant. Our country is being battered with storms so severe than neither half of them will succeed in as few years as they are given to court the storm clouds away. Their games, their secretive deals, their idyllic ideologies, and indeed what they consider “leadership,” all must change. Both political parties in our country must replace their primary platforms with pragmatism. What we need is Common Sense. But we cannot rely on them to willfully change. To overcome these storms, we must depend upon ourselves.

In a democracy, the end-all be-all begins with “the people.” Weathering these storms starts in our homes, with our families. It starts on our streets and town sidewalks with friends and neighbors and strangers alike. We must embody, we must encourage, we must truly become the types of leaders that we would ideally wish to have lead our country.

The best among the American people must rise to meet the storm. For even on the darkest and most dreary of days, the sun shines still — if we look high enough.