As the votes are counted in precincts across the country and each of us has had time to let the results sink in, I'm reminded of why what we do is so important.
Teddy Roosevelt said "It is not critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them 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, who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in 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 fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold
and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat."
Having worked with, and for, candidates since the 1980s, I know this: winning is better.
I've worked for candidates that won and those that lost. Losing hurts.
I've spent many an Election Night in tears watching my boss concede.
I've spent many Election Nights popping balloons in a hotel ballroom celebrating my boss' victory.
I've had opportunities to serve as a result of who won an election. I've known those who have lost their jobs because of election results.
Last night, candidates I supported lost and my heart is broken for them, and for the chamber in which they serve, and sought to serve.
Yesterday I spent 15 hours as an Election Judge in a polling place in Winnetka. I saw grandmothers holding their granddaughters as they cast their vote.
I saw 18 year-olds register to vote and do so for the first time, snapping selfies of their "I voted" stickers with their parents.
I helped some voters in wheelchairs with oxygen tanks get to the voting machine.
I spoke with naturalized citizens who exalted the glory of America's election system.
I heard veterans say that voting was one of the most precious gifts they fight to protect, one with tears in his eyes.
As the nation picks up the pieces of shattered dreams and hopeful plans, can we agree on this:
We are blessed to live in the United States where we have a voice in who will guide us.
There are nations which do not hold competitive elections, allow women to participate in them and inflict pain on those who try.
There are countries who have a transition of power only through military force.
Let us rejoice in the exquisite nature of our electoral process and commit ourselves to increasing our involvement in it.
Remember that John Adams represented a British soldier during his trial in Boston because Adams held in higher regard the soldier's right to an attorney, rather than Adams' own efforts to separate from the crown.
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