It has been a long campaign, the longest on record, and in less than a week your vote will be heard and our country, barring recount, will know the name of our next president. Whoever he is, he will be facing enormous problems on many fronts. His dreams for our nation have become well known in the campaign. They are at the heart of an agenda that has found definition over time, in debate and across the land. And your vote will, or will not, endorse it.

In a democracy, victory in any election, especially that for president, is ultimately bittersweet. More often than not the winner earns a fragile victory, realizing almost half the country voted for someone else. Still, it is the winner’s dreams and agenda that move to Washington, while the loser’s remain at best on hold.

Is there any place on earth more cruel to one’s dreams than Washington? Try to imagine any of our presidents – all good, well-intentioned Americans – taking the Oath of Office without having dreams of making our country and the world a better place or, at least, of making a difference during their tenure. However, no president settles long into the White House before finding out that the office is not “all about him.” It is about world events, domestic and international; about politics and forces of nature; about power and powerlessness. Dreams may define him while seeking votes, but it is reality that is the crucible of change.

What we have heard in stereo these gone months is that Washington is broken and needs fixing; there needs to be a change in the way things get done in D.C. – just about the only issue on which both major candidates have agreed. To date, for myself at least, it is still not clear who will be better at getting that done or, more importantly, how either will go about doing it, if they can. I do know, though, that there can be no quick fix, that change for the sake of change should never be an option and that the realities of today’s world demand more than one person’s dreams.

That is why I never vote lightly nor cast a vote without saying a prayer for our country. I guess I am old-fashioned enough to believe the “In God We Trust” on our coinage is an invitation to do just that.

Ours is a fragile world and these are even more fragile times. Wisdom tells us that fragility requires both sensitivity and strength if healthy change is to be brought about. Our next president needs to know that if only to protect his dreams.

I believe every voter has dreams as well. Be sure to give them voice on Election Day. Today’s realities need them – more than ever.