And That's the Way it Is
By yesterday, the elements were in full force! as they are everywhere--even in political campaigns and seasons.
First, let me say that for an experience akin to being threatened minute by minute with a shredder--I loved campaigning. I still love politics, and--for all its heartbreaks--the American political process as it is meant to be.
There are just no words, however, for the turn things can take. Those of you who are savvy about that process (and about how it can be abused) understand what has happened here. Those of you who may not be so politically active are in various stages of personal disappointment. Believe me, we ALL share that one.
A heartfelt thank you to each of the 90,000-plus people who honored me with your vote--and with it your confidence and your trust. For a couple of years now folks have said "Oh, I HOPE you get in." It is especially humbling when they are praying for it, for the nation and for you. It is gratifying when they say: "It's time for a change." And nothing short of thrilling to hear: "We NEED you in there!"
I wish there were some alternative way to repay the smaller but ever-growing circle of you who supported me in so many ways beyond that. If I said it to myself once, I said it a couple of hundred times: "I had better win this one, because I can't BELIEVE what this person is putting into this!"
On Election Night, I remarked that God has blessed me with getting to know and work daily with the men and women who have made up our campaign staff. A special singling out has to go to our regional coordinators and campaign volunteers. They carried the message and the fight far beyond what we could have done alone--all over this sprawling, gerrymandered 17th District.
One of the true rewards of this particular campaign was to make the friendship and see the commitment and work ethic of college Republicans--from Western Illinois University, from Knox College, from Blackhawk College, from Augustana College and from UI-Springfield. Do not fear for the future with the likes of young people like these!
Our future is determined by our past, and on this Veterans Day, I am proud to have had the privilege of shaking the hand of every veteran with whom I knowingly came in contact. You try it. Not once was I rebuffed: after all,have you ever rejected someone thanking you for putting your life on hold for them? For laying your life on the line? Let me tell you, if ALL of us did that, it wouldn't be too many handshakes for these men and women. It is because of them that we enjoy a free, fair election process. It is because of them that America goes on.
If I had one wish, it would be...... well, OK, if I had a SECOND wish, it would be that every American, every voter would somehow be involved with a campaign--running for office or helping someone else run. Each of us would quickly learn that you can't do it alone. And each of us would develop a deep appreciation for the many, many elected officials out there and what they go through just to SERVE, before ever stepping into the difficult job itself.
I don't know what's ahead--and that's a feeling and a state of being which I plain despise. Maybe, as I said tongue in cheek to a reporter, this was one very public way to put one's credentials and references out there in search of meaningful work. There's a lot of experience, know-how and energy here waiting to be used.
Whatever happens, I do know that I hope my life in some way continues to include politics. We have a unique, beautiful opportunity in these United States to determine our fate. God bless us every one--God bless the U.S.A.