Seven days after our narrow defeat I have surfaced to share some thoughts with you….
When we embarked on the Senate race two years ago I was full of fight, energized by Alexi’s vision and dedication to public service and full of hope that our community could reach this pinnacle in American politics by electing Alexi Giannoulias to the United States Senate.
This campaign was an amazing journey. People have asked me for one word descriptions, and there are many – “war”, “rollercoaster”, “long” – but the most appropriate is inspiring.
It was inspiring for several reasons, the first of which was Alexi himself. Never before have I seen someone fight so hard, remain focused and principled no matter what was thrown at him, and keep what he was fighting for at the forefront. I know that many of the challenges that Alexi faced – and our campaign along with him – were well publicized, but what we overcame was more than anyone realizes, and the fact that Alexi almost won is a testament to his resolve, his dedication to the right values and his courage. I personally worked so hard not for another politician to emerge, but for a leader to emerge. In that we are all victorious – Alexi has become that leader.
The second source of my inspiration is all of YOU. The people on this email are dedicated to a stronger and better Greek American community. You all decided that this campaign was part of that community, and no matter what your level of political involvement beforehand, ALL of you stepped up and delivered waaaay more than anyone would’ve ever expected. Max out donations, hosting fundraisers in your homes and offices, phone banking, putting up signs, knocking on doors. I could go on and on – and honestly, there are too many things for me to thank you all for. I hope we made you all proud.
Now, I’d like to pretend that I’m going to take a break, but you guys know me better. There is a lot in our community still to be done, and there are experiences during this campaign that will forever stay with me. Remembering our Patriarch pleading with a US Senator for help, or the skulls with bullet holes of missing Cypriots, or just speaking with the Hartmarx workers (which reminded me of my grandmother working at the Zenith factory when she came to the U.S.), this campaign gave me even greater reasons to keep fighting. And I will keep fighting because my amazing wife and two sons – who have done most of the sacrificing (and yes, they are getting a lot more of my time and attention) – have shown and continue to show enthusiasm for the causes I dedicate myself to.
Spartan warriors were told before battle “Come back with your shield, or on it.” We may have suffered a setback, but I still have a shield strapped to my arm. We have begun something that is much bigger than a Senate seat. I promise you that Alexi will justify once again your belief in him by demonstrating that leadership requires neither title nor position.
I look forward to working with you all again and again. May the good Lord remind you that you are “AXIOS” for what you have done for us…..with deepest respect and admiration…..
**** Endy Zemenides is a Senior political advisor to Alexi Giannoulias