Photo by George Lauby
In conceding defeat in the race for the U.S. Senate seat, Bob Kerrey had this to say:"A few minutes ago I called and spoke with Sen. Fischer to congratulate her on her victory. I extended to her my hope that her service to Nebraskans in the Senate will add as much to her life as it did to mine.
"Whatever personal animus you have towards her as a consequence of fighting hard in this campaign, please try to conquer it. The only behavior we control is our own. Please, on behalf of our country, join me in wishing her well.
"From the beginning we knew this would be an uphill struggle. We did not begin this campaign because we thought it would be easy. We knew the odds were against us.
"But remember this: Some of the best causes seem at first like lost causes. But in this cause, I believe that with time we will prevail, and I believe we began in this campaign — and for that we have a reason to celebrate tonight.
"We sounded the alarm about a hyper-partisan, dysfunctional Congress.
"We offered specific proposals that would make our democracy more just and more likely to produce ways to resolve rather than create conflict. We earned the support of Republican leaders like Chuck Hagel who are equally alarmed and appalled by what they see happening in our nation’s capitol.
"We proposed specific bi-partisan solutions to the national crisis of debt and deficits. We were not afraid to tell the truth about what needs to be done to restore sound national fiscal policies.
"And we did not duck the tough calls:
"We told Nebraskans that climate change is real, that it is caused by our own habits, and that changing those habits would head off irreversible human and economic damage.
"We supported the Affordable Health Care Act because we believe it will help reduce the burden of poverty in Nebraska and increase the health of our State’s families.
"We defended the rights of all Nebraskans – gay or straight – to have equal civil opportunities to work, to live and to marry.
"We trusted women to make their own health care decisions without the interference of government law enforcement agencies.
"We made the case that economic development and economic justice are compatible sides of the same coin.
"The cumulative impact of these arguments did not produce a victory tonight. But they were worth making all the same.
"In the words of Dorothy Lord quoting Martin Luther King: “We will not remember the words of our enemies. We will remember the silence of our friends.”
"Above all else we were not silent in this campaign. Our voices were heard. They did not fall on deaf ears. I know - and I hope you do as well – that this campaign was worth the effort all of you have made.
"The people of Nebraska have spoken. They have made their choice. Do not love them less for having chosen in a different way than you had hoped. Love them more. It is the right thing to do.
"So walk out of here tonight with your heads held high. You did a good thing in this campaign. You were brave. You persevered when the odds were overwhelmingly against you.
"You conquered cynicism. You believed in our better natures and came together to make our world safer and more just.
"You have made new friends and I sincerely hope some very good and inspiring memories.
"I am indebted to you. Thank you all. Very, very much."
-- By former Senator and Governor of Nebraska, Bob Kerrey. First published in the Nov. 7 print edition of the North Platte Bulletin.