Spectator Sport

Someone asked me the other week when I’m going to run for office.

Not likely. I’m much too thin-skinned, have too many other commitments on my time and energy, and my wife would rather go to the dentist than talk politics – I can’t imagine asking her to live it. No, for me, I think politics is destined to remain a spectator sport.

The game is on tomorrow, and I can’t wait to “play” – albeit from the stands. I certainly have a firm idea about how I want things to come out. But, it’s at times like this that I’m reminded of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote:

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

I’ll be bitterly disappointed if Allen and Goode win tomorrow. However, if that happens, I’ll take nothing away from the efforts of Webb and Weed. They are both good men, both “born fighting” to borrow Webb’s slogan, and have both run committed and exhausting races against well-entrenched incumbents. I hope they win, but if they don’t, it won’t be because they didn’t try.


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