Election Day 2002

It seems so many politicians put so much at stake on this one day.

Careers made. Careers broken. Stars born. Stars snuffed out.

I don't know. I've said it before and I'll say it again: We're so riveted by the here and now, that we forget that it's just here, just now.

I knew a candidate out in the Midwest who lost a lot of do-or-die elections. I remember he tried to make it on the Illinois general assembly and lost. Soon after that, he proposes to the girl of his dreams and she turns him down. Meets another girl. She breaks things off. They get back together. He breaks things off. Then they really get back together. Get married. Start a family. All seems right.

The next year, he runs for Congress and loses. A couple of years after that, he runs for Congress. Makes it, but discovers he's in debt up to his eyeballs.

Just as he's getting out of the hole, his son dies after a two-month illness. A year after that, his father dies too.

He tries for the Senate five years after that but his own legislature rejects him. He tries four years later for the same job. Same outcome -- he loses again.

The experts say he's finished. That he's almost a mockery of the process. The good man who doesn't have the good sense to go away.

Yet just when they thought he was done, he tries one last stab at office. And he makes it. And he makes history.

You might know him. His name is Abraham Lincoln.

That's why I don't believe the experts. They're so focused on the odds today, that they lose sight of the folks who'll defy them tomorrow.

It's a good thing our people are a better judge of greatness than our experts.

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