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It’s trite in American politics — the idea of a “New Beginning” — and yet it is used by someone during every election cycle. Don’t stop reading! I’m not going to bore you with the tales of the election that has just past.
Instead, I believe I will regale you with a short story about finding a new beginning.
Shane Bitney Crone is a wonderful young man. He grew up with a strong family. He had American values. And he fell in love. All of those characteristics are a part of the American Dream. But what the world was not ready for us to find out was that Shane fell in love with a boy, Tom. They traveled the world together. They were living the American Dream. Until, one day, Tom tragically died.
Perhaps the greater tradgey is that Shane was never completely open about his sexual orientation while he was with Tom. Certainly they were open in public and didn’t lie about their love, but Shane did not see the point in fighting for equal rights or standing up to discrimination. That all changed when he was barred by Tom’s family from attending his funeral.
Since then, Shane has worked tirelessly, and openly, to tell their story which resulted in a documentary movie: BRIDEGROOM. I have yet to see it, but I encourage you to do so. It’s a story of love. Not gay love. Human love.
And what does any of this have to do with a new beginning?
Shane lost the love of his life.
Back in 2003, when I lost my campaign to become Mayor of Mason City, Iowa, I was gutted. Of course the campaign had been stressful and a victory would have changed the course of my life forever, but I was okay with that. When the numbers came in and I had indeed lost to Jean Marinos (now a friend), my sense of direction was lost. I no longer understood my place in the world and how I could have the same impact winning the election would have provided me and the campaign.
I grew to dislike the “game” of politics and I walked away.
Sometimes that has to happen. Sometimes you have to lose completely and publicly to be able to find your way home again. I can’t tell you what I’m working on right now, but I have been consulting with a number of people here in New York City on a new political venture and I can’t wait to tell you more. It took me ten years to find my way home again. To my own, New Beginning.
Elton John has a new song out called, Home Again, the lyrics of which seem appropriate: “If I’d never left, I’d never have known.” He is right. I had to leave to know.