By Hon. Judge Michael Ritchie
I lost my first two elections. First, I lost (ironically) to my now friend and tremendous Patriot Week supporter United States Senator Gary Peters. Second, I lost (also ironically) to other now friends in a bid to keep my seat on the State Board of Education. After I was appointed to my current position on the Oakland County Circuit Court, I was (unexpectedly) unopposed to retain my seat and then was re-elected drawing no opposition. In 2012, I successfully fought back a robust challenge to keep my seat.
I have run for State Senate, State Board of Education, and Circuit Court, and regardless of the office, they were all grueling, enlightening, and invigorating experiences – fraught with times of panic and confidence, humility and glory, tedium and exhilaration. There is nothing quite like running for public office. The people you meet, and the experiences you have, are unique. You put yourself out there, hoping to make a difference for the betterment of the people you desire to serve. That is, after all, the true definition of a public servant.
To all who lost in this last election, I salute your courage and fortitude in undergoing the brutal experience of a campaign. Regardless of the margin of loss – a blow out or razor thin – you did what nearly no one else is willing to do. You stood up and fought for what you believe is right, and were wiling to be rejected by your fellow citizens. As President Theodore Roosevelt once reflected:
Advertisements - Click the Speaker Icon for Audio
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
To those who won, congratulations. The difficult journey paid off. But this is no time for smug or arrogant presumption. Be humble. Please remember you have a sacred trust of governing for “We the People.” You do that best by preserving our First Principles articulated in the Declaration of Independence and embedded in the Constitution: the rule of law, unalienable rights, limited government, the social compact, equality, and the right to alter or abolish an oppressive government.
Several of the winners and losers in Michigan are my friends. For those that lost, it pains me greatly. Thank you for your effort. For those that won, I rejoice with you. Do not waste the opportunity to serve – strive for the betterment of ALL the People in this age of division.
For all of you, you have bright futures if you keep true to the polestar of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. And for the voters, make sure they do so. God Bless You and America!
Hon. Michael Warren is an Oakland County Michigan Circuit Judge, author of America’s Survival Guide, and host of the Patriot Lessons: American History and Civics Podcast. Learn more about Patriot Week at www.PatriotWeek.org.