Sunday, February 17, 2008

It's never over until it's over

History is littered with people who faced overwhelming odds.

Whether it was David when he faced Goliath or the New York Giants when they played the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, there are lots of examples of people who could have given up based on the situation they were in.

For other examples look no further than our current presidential race.

Last year, Arizona Sen. John McCain's bid for the presidency looked to be unraveling in its infancy. Key staff members left the campaign and most pundits predicted a quick end to McCain's bid.

The perception was that his campaign was in disarray, and as we all know, perception is one of the most important ingredients of political campaigns these days.

It doesn't matter what the facts are. If the perception of a candidate is negative, then he or she has a much steeper mountain to climb than other candidates.

In McCain's case, he found himself buried in the polls, and the future was bleak.

Fortunately for him, he did not fold under the pressure. He simply kept plugging along, and now he is the frontrunner for the Republican Party's nomination.

The fact that McCain did not quit should not have surprised us. After all, he spent years in the brutal hands of the Vietnamese as a prisoner of war during that conflict.

Whether a person is a supporter of McCain or not, he has to be admired for his resiliency during his Vietnam experience and for not giving up on his presidential bid when most said he had no chance.

He now has an overwhelming lead in delegates, and only has to deal with pesky Mike Huckabee between now and the Republican convention this summer.

A similar situation is unfolding for the Democratic nomination. Last year, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had a solid lead in all the polls.

With the experience of the Clinton political machine behind her, it looked like smooth sailing to her party's nomination.

It would have been easy for other candidates to pack it in and begin focusing on running in 2012. However, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama didn't do that.

The more he got his face in front of the public, the more his personal charisma began to win over voters.

While some critics dismiss Obama as an empty suit, his ability to communicate is obvious. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both showed how important it is to have excellent communication skills.

People will never confuse Reagan and Clinton from an ideological point of view, but it cannot be denied that both understood how to communicate to the hearts of voters.

Some might claim that they both knew how to manipulate voters, but even that shows they understood how to present a message to the public.

As for Obama, his persistence has put him in a dogfight with Mrs. Clinton, and the race for the nomination likely won't be decided for another couple of months.

So, what can be learned from all this?

I started this column by stating that history is littered with people who faced overwhelming odds but continued despite that.

Most of the lives being led today are lives that will not be recorded in the history books. However, everybody at some point will face overwhelming odds in which they have to decide whether to give up or keep moving forward.

If you haven't found yourself in a situation like this, you will eventually. In all our lives, there is a season for everything.

We will all experience seasons of prosperity and happiness. But we will also experience seasons of angst and despair.

As surely as the sun rises in the east, we will all at some point face a moment in which the odds are against us.

The toughest decision is knowing when to keep moving forward or to retreat. As we all know, knowing when to retreat is often as important as knowing when to move forward.

Unfortunately, I can't provide you any special insight when faced with this decision.

All I can say is pray about it and do the best you can.


Anonymous said...

After the dust settles from the primaries the debates should prove interesting. Though I suspect that this election will be much like the last couple: the election being decided by 5% or so of undecideds, unless a bunch of apathetic whiners decide to "stay home" 'cause they couldn't get their way. Pooh! Pout!

Anonymous said...

apathetic voters are why the gov't is crap

Joltin' Django said...

Navin R. Johnson overcame despite overwhelming odds. He was the white son of poor black sharecroppers, and he achieved fame and fortune as the inventer of the "Opti-grab” handle for eyeglasses!

Chris said...

"Navin R. Johnson overcame despite overwhelming odds."

I haven't seen that movie in ages. I may have to dig it up.