I went back to work in Congress the day after the primary, completed voting in Washington, DC and then Elizabeth and I took a week to rest, to reflect and to renew. I returned to Congress this week to continue my duties and to plan my work for the remainder of the term.
I could not let another day to go by without sharing with you my deep gratitude and my awareness of your role throughout my public service. I am especially grateful to the people of the greater Cleveland area who have been exceptionally supportive of me through the years.
In this past primary election I achieved close to three out of every four votes from that part of my old district which was included in the new district. I am sure this was a resounding note of appreciation for the constituent service performed by my staff over the past sixteen years. I am also aware that I have connected with the hearts of millions whose concerns transcend district lines.
It is important to put a political defeat into perspective, so may I share some thoughts? Since the March 6 Primary Election results, I have thought about others who have suffered real loss, people who have lost their homes, lost their jobs, lost their investments, lost their health care coverage, lost their educational opportunities, lost their retirement security, lost a loved one to the violence of war abroad or conflict domestically. Put alongside the struggle of so many people just to survive, the loss I experienced is much less consequential.
Redistricting? Political defeat? Indeed, but it is OK. I have not a shred of regret for the campaign we ran, a campaign of integrity standing up for progressive values and truth. I accept the outcome with equanimity but have concern for the direction of our Congress and our country.
As for the methods used to win the election? Well, Spring has just begun. Life is bursting forth and cherry blossoms crown Washington, DC. Truth telling will have its season. Tomorrow’s victories will be built from the embers of defeat. Of this I have no doubt.
How do I know this? I started my career in 1967 and since then, I have lost a total of eight times. Indeed, when I was elected to Congress in 1996, it was on my FIFTH try. When I was first sworn in January 3, 1997, it was the culmination of a campaign for Congress which started in December of 1971.
Today I have had the honor of sixteen years of service in the United States House of Representatives. I tell you that our victory is inevitable. As it is for anyone who ceaselessly strives to make this a better world. This is not simply about elections. This is about how we stand up for humanity and our world by speaking and acting for the truth.
My education in losing and then winning has empowered me never to fear defeat; instead, to cast votes and to take strong positions without regard as to how I may be affected politically. For me, truth is the highest consequence and I am committed to defend the cause of peace, economic and social justice.
So, today I feel lighter, joyful, liberated by a familiar sense of onrushing possibilities as embodied in these lines from one of Elizabeth's and my favorite films, lines that Elizabeth spoke as vows to me when we married almost seven years ago:
“Knowing love, I will allow all things to come and go. To be as supple as the wind, and take everything that comes with great courage. My heart is as open as the sky. Life is right in any case.”
With love and appreciation,
US Representative (10th District, Ohio)
March 22, 2012