Trying to make the political process serve the public interest is hard work, and most of the time, good people will fail. Whether at the level of town councils or national governments, I have seen many people who entered as idealists and left cynical as they were crushed by experienced lobbyists, deceived, saw their message intentionally distorted and mocked, or were shoved aside in favor of someone who could write a six figure campaign contribution check.
What adds to the difficulty for such people is those chatterers who have made a virtue of political disengagement: “If you were as sophisticated as I am, you would see it’s all a big game, but alas, you poor child, you tried to stand up for what was right. How quaint.”
These words of T.R. are for all those who keep on trying:
“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 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 and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, 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 he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”