Having run a campaign ourselves when Richard ran for governor in 1992, we know just a little about what it takes to be the candidates in a campaign. Although a state-wide race pales in comparison to a national race, it still gave us a taste of how grueling a campaign can be. One never knows when shaking hands with someone whether they love or hate you. Raising money is always weighing like a ton of bricks on your shoulders and it takes a toll on family time and really on doing anything else. I can’t remember sleeping for several months!
Of course there are good aspects as well. The loyal people who rally around a candidate and sacrifice time and money to the cause are an inspiration. Really working for a cause that you believe in, meeting extraordinary new people and seeing great causes that you would never have known otherwise is elevating and invigorating. Certainly there are perks, but the sacrifices that the current presidential candidates make because they truly believe that they can make our nation better are astronomical. Any one of the Republican candidates running for President could be on vacation in Hawaii, enjoying their children and grandchildren. Instead they somehow find the energy to wake up every morning and go at it again…facing both accolades and defamation. A new slap in the face from foes and rivals emerges every day. A thousand problems with staff and the electorate arise 24/7. All of it requires more energy than any of us can imagine. Shaking a thousand hands a day, eating whatever is in front of you…or not, saying the same thing over and over and over and over has got to be get pretty debilitating. But they somehow go on with vigor and determination day after day.
It was sobering to see Mary Kaye Huntmans’s sad face when her husband, our former and very popular governor Jon Huntsman stepped out of the race this week. The Huntsmans have done so much for Utah and have worked so hard on this campaign. It took me right back to Richard’s concessions speech when we stood on a similar stand with our family and stepped aside after we won the Republican convention but lost in the primary election to Mike Leavitt. Although the time and the money were a factor I think the hardest thing was disappointing so many campaign workers and supporters. We still have fond connections with many of those good people, but in the end I have to say that the campaign was one of the hardest thing we’ve done. Personally, I have to admit that by the next week, I was so glad that we had lost. Politics is just my not cup of tea!
Being friends of Mitt and Ann Romney and watching them in the last election as well as this one, has given us just a peek into the incredible difficulties of a national campaign. What they have waded through in terms of opinions coming from every directions and so many false accusations and misunderstandings is beyond belief. Many say that real politicians don’t care about what the accusers and naysayers think. They just have to go forward with what they believe. But they do care. There are some arrows that are hard to pull out! The time, money, mental stability, energy, and determination it takes to run a national campaign is simply astounding! Mix all that with Ann’s delicate health and you get a feel for the sacrifices involved in this incredible national campaign.
Similar things could be said for all the other candidates who have put themselves out there for what they believe.
So on this Martin Luther King week, wouldn’t it be stellar if we could just stop all the crazy wild rhetoric for a day and give these good people who dare to step into the ring a cheer?