Navy SEAL Eric Greitens won the first political race of his life. Few first timers win a major party’s nomination for governor of a state. You’ll probably hear just how rare Greitens’s feat was. But not tonight. I want to tell some stories.
Eric Greitens gave up a morning of this campaign to talk to one of my kids. That kid is a man now. He’s in the Navy at a helo combat squadron in San Diego. Sure, his mom and dad and step mom and brother influenced him. But none of us could push him over the top. Eric Greitens did.
My stepson went through a horrible car accident last year. Eric heard about it. Eric again left his campaign to make sure my stepson was comfortable. And my stepson couldn’t do much for Eric. But Eric didn’t care about that. He didn’t expect a return.
A lot of my friendships were strained or broken during this campaign. Good friendships. Every time I took a stand for Eric, he had my back.
Tonight’s remarkable win against a field of candidates with a combined . . . I don’t know, 3,000 years in politics, was amazing. It’s the kind of win you read about, as Panger would say. It was a sweet moment in time, but only a moment,
Most politicians would complain about my writing that. “Just a moment in time, Bill? Come on!” But not Eric. I know this was just a moment in time—a fire to pass through—because Eric Greitens taught me so. I learned that philosophy from him.
We don’t bounce back from wins or loses, we move through them. We emerge different. And our measure is what we do with our different selves.
Eric Greitens and so many remarkable staffers and volunteers walked through a fire and came out the other side. They’re all changed. Forged. Harder. More resilient. And they’re moving on.
This is a moment in time, but you should take a moment to savor it.
When I knocked doors for Eric, I heard one recurring theme. “I won’t vote for anyone who’s held public office before.”
Some will say Greitens won because people are fed up with the status quo. That’s possible. But I’ve been in this political game a little while. I’ve heard “throw the bums out” many times, but the bums never get thrown out.
I have an idea about why now. People are willing to cast aside the old establishment because they finally see a leader who can fix the things the establishment broke.
Put another way, the devil you know beats the devil you don’t until an angel comes along.
For the people without a voice, Eric Greitens is our angel.
It’s a moment in time, but it’s one hell of a moment.
Thank you, Eric, for leading so many of us through that fire. And for walking straight at the next inferno. There’s no one I’d rather follow.
It’s time to move through Koster.
Photos by Dortie B