Lots of people are telling me I should not run for public office. The sympathetic say I will get hurt. The realists declare I haven't a chance. The cynics cry that there's no hope against entrenched politicians. So why try?
Maybe Teddy Roosevelt had the answer. "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood ... 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."
That is all well and good. But for many thousands of people in the hills and hollows of central West Virginia, such lofty words have little meaning. They want to know whether I have the goods to help them. Many are unemployed. Many are hungry. And many have simply given up. So far the politicians they've put in office have not helped them much.
And there is this: "As they say, money talks. You know, it is hard for the average working person to have time to participate in and understand government. Their time is taken trying to make a living and raising a family." Those words are from a West Virginia resident who has little time for her government because, I suspect, her government has had little time for her. She knows the current politicians, both in the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, are in it for themselves. That is why voter turnout in West Virginia is so low.
In the face of such frustration, apathy and hopelessness, one man can make a difference. If he is the right man with the right stuff. But he must be different from all who have come before him in positions of power and influence.
In the aftermath of the recent, ugly government shutdown, people in West Virginia and everywhere are pleading for someone new in a third party to come to the rescue, to revive America's greatness as a country not of the few and powerful moneyed interests and self-serving lobbyists and politicians. They want a government of the people, by the people and for the people. That one, different man, someone new, can make a difference. He can be the voice of restoration.
Maybe for his "Almost Heaven," West Virginia, hero John Denver said it better than Teddy Roosevelt:
"What one man can do is dream, what one man can do is try. What one man can do is change the world and make it young again; here you see what one man can do."
Rabel, a West Virginia native and Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist, is running for Congress from West Virginia's 2nd Congressional district as the Mountain Party candidate.