I forgot to be upset today. Even with the hundreds of consolation emails, voicemails, text messages, and grim shrugs. I lost the election. But, I cannot summon any regret, sadness, or melancholy. Au contraire. I am in a great mood, full of hope, appreciation, and happiness. Here’s why: the world did not end. Not my world. It did not even bend. New Milford will survive and prosper. I have work to get back to and children to continue to raise. I am catching a flight in few hours to Los Angeles with my best friend and soulmate.
There were over 12,000 individual votes cast for these two seats. I lost by about 160. That was my sweet spot. Less, and I surely would have lost sleep wondering what I could have done differently. More, and I would have given in to paranoia. You see, there are thousands of voters who have no idea who I am. There are only so many doors upon which one can knock. For most, the first time they ever saw my name was in the voting booth. And, how many times have I skipped over unfamiliar, if not qualified, candidates for those I knew something about. Of the 6 council candidates, I was the least known by far. Against those odds, I did my daddy proud.
But, there is more to celebrate. This was, in my view, the most civil, respectful, and amiable election that I can remember. (With a few ugly exceptions). It’s a credit to all the candidates and most of their enthusiastic supporters. I promised to restore civility. And, while I do not and cannot take any credit for the tone of the campaign, I am proud to have been part of it. I hope it continues with the new council. I think it will.
We have some issues in town that need some attention. Nothing cataclysmic or catastrophic. Nothing that good people, with good hearts, great minds, and mutual respect cannot tackle. If they can, I am content to sit out. If they can’t, I am happy to try again someday. It’s all good.
The rub, of course, is the amazing people I have met along this journey. Every door, every address. Supporters and not so much. We have a great town, filled with the most amazing people. Everyone I met was kind, friendly, interested, and interesting. (With a few ugly exceptions). Abraham Lincoln once said that “the true measure of a town’s greatness can be found in its citizenry.” He didn’t actually, but he should have because it’s true. Politicians come and go. But the character of this town is imbedded in its DNA.
That reminds me of a few examples. Mike Putrino, my campaign manager, is about the nicest, most sincere guy I have ever met. I cannot wait for his return to politics. Randi Duffie cares more about New Milford than almost anyone I know. She is kind and selfless and willing to do just about anything to help. She was, is, and will be among the giants of our council. Ira Grotsky is a cutie. Humble to a fault, but sharp as a tack, he will literally transform the council next year, and the dividends of his election will be immediate.
Diego and Dominic have worked tirelessly for the last 6 years for New Milford. We can, and almost surely will, disagree on various obstacles and their cure. We can stand on opposite sides of an issue. But, no one should ever question their motives or their love for this town. We agree on far more than we don’t.
I’d have seriously considered voting for Kelly. She’s smart and exhausting. But, she is on the first K of this marathon and she already has the tools to be a first-ballot Council Hall of Famer. She is strong enough to break the long cycle of partisanship and cabalistic rule. If she does, she’ll have my vote for reelection.
And, all the rest. The people, and you know who you are, who made this trip so much fun! It was exhilarating and rewarding. I saw my side of town rally around me in a way that I will never forget. I saw my wife and children laugh with me (and, often, at me), but I knew they were behind me all the way. I saw long standing Republicans support me (some very quietly). I made new friends. Lost weight. I found respect hidden in plain sight all over town. Yes, there were jerks. There always are. But, the payback is that they will continue to be jerks long after this election is forgotten. Heck, even the jerks were entertaining.
So, you see, there is much to celebrate today; little to despair. For the thousands of people who read this blog (apparently, not too many of them in New Milford), you know I am never shy and rarely hesitant to speak my mind. The journey exceeded the destination. Rarely is that more true than today.
Thanks for the adventure.
By the way, who won the presidential election?