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The perspective of a loser

Competition. We have all been in this circumstance at least once or more in our lives, but when all the points are tabulated, the chips counted or the votes tallied, there remains one story - the victor's.

Take it from the guy who's lost in more things than he has won. The losing side is not glamorous, but it's worth talking about. So much sweat, aching joints and positively every single emotion that could be experienced to the point of debilitating exhaustion.

All for what? To lose?

Growing up, I was told over and over: "If you work hard, you will succeed."

True, but "they" forgot to mention that hard work doesn't always ensure success, no matter your passions or beliefs.

Elections. It takes a pretty big dose of gumption to contemplate running for a political office but to file for one ...? Wow! The question I would like you to ask yourself: Are you willing to subject your most profound beliefs to the same scrutiny that has been witnessed in this most recent election?

What I will speak about are the unsung heroes: the ones who decided that their beliefs were worth expressing, were worth the exposure that could lead to public scrutiny of the most cruel sort.

Most of us in this area are intimately familiar with the term "progressive" or "progressive movement." It echoes a past forgotten and a rebirth fueled by our youth.

The movement was created in the late 19th century and spearheaded by a man who was ultimately buried by the victors: Robert M. La Follette, former governor of Wisconsin and a progressive who was forced to caucus with the Republicans. It became apparent to the former governor that to fight out different principles in the face of diversity was better left to a separation of such thoughts. And so, La Follette determined that there should be a Progressive Party to represent the ideas opposite their current entanglement.

Bob La Follette - successfully creating a new, progressive party - ran for President in 1924 but lost. Yet the term, and the idea persists. It exists beyond his sons Phil or Bob Jr., who both held public office, and has reverberated and been renewed by the likes of Bernie Sanders and others.

Some people say they put everything they had into running their ideals. Well, for La Follette, he did. He died a year after his unsuccessful presidential bid. But here we are, nearly 100 years later, and those same ideas - produced from an unsuccessful attempt - have enlightened generations beyond his own imagining.

I say this to all who have tried and failed: I've been there and I appreciate you. I don't care what party you represented, all I care about is that you had enough passion to make a difference, and a difference you may have made.

I suppose the history books will tell our grandchildren of the tale.

Thank you for your hope, your time, your effort and endless respect for this great nation.

Writer Uriah Wilkinson is a local political contributor and a history buff.

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