When you went to bed, you were a senator or a governor or a representative.
It had not touched you yet.
But now it is 2019.
You wake up in a cold sweat with only one thought: Somehow you must get to Iowa. You are not from Iowa. But it is calling to you. You think, “If I do not get my hands around an ear of corn, I will perish. If I do not clutch an Iowan infant in my arms, something horrible will happen. If I do not tell the people of Iowa what I think is wrong with America — and yet, what I think is right with America, too — then life will no longer be worth living."
You have been to Iowa maybe once or twice before. You thought nothing of it at the time. You saw John Delaney there, out standing in his field. He heard the call before anyone else. He dropped his plow and let his oxen run free and went straight to Iowa. You laughed at him.
But now you must get there. You must get there this year. You feel the stirring in your blood. There is something there for you, and you must go.
People asked you, “Are you thinking of it?” And before you said no.
Now you are “not able to rule out thinking of it.”
Once the idea has insinuated itself, it is only a matter of time. Even the act of not thinking about it admits the existence of the possibility of thinking about it, and by then, it is too late.
Suddenly, your life begins to change.
You have written a book. You did not know you were writing a book until you saw it at the airport one morning with your name and face on the cover. (When was this picture taken? You do not remember taking the picture.) The book is called “Uplifting the Dreams We Hold Dear,” or “My Country 'Tis Of Thee,” or “Sweet Land of Liberty,” or “Certainly We Must All Promise,” or “Every Day Is Extra!!!!” or “This I Swear,” or “God Dreamed a Wish,” or “Six Things I Know,” or “I Dreamed A Dream,” or “Life Worth Living,” or “A Fight We Must All Fight,” or “We Had Better Fight,” or “We Hold These Truths,” or “To Be Self-Evident,” or “That All Men Are Created Equal,” or “And Endowed By Their Creator,” or “With Certain Unalienable Rights,” or “Among These, Life,” or “Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” or “My Uncle Made Me Swear to You This Day,” or “My Grandpa Made a Promise,” or “Neighbors,” or “United,” or “Divided,” or “Stronger,” or “Scrappy Little Nobody.”
You flip through the book. It has a very wide font. You have discovered a lot of things wrong with America, the book says, but also a lot of things great about America. You wish someone existed who could solve some of them and celebrate others of them.
You find yourself sitting down with party leaders. Why? No reason. Can’t you sit down with party leaders? Can’t you go to Iowa?
You feel a great urge to prayerfully weigh the question. You find yourself having a conversation with your spouse about how best to serve at this time. You feel the need to consult with your family. You consult with them as you have never consulted before. Are they ready for this, you wish to know. They must be ready. The last thing your spouse said at the conclusion of your last candidacy was “IF WE EVER DO ANYTHING RESEMBLING A CAMPAIGN AGAIN, I AM MOVING TO A BUNKER IN CANADA AND TAKING THE CHILDREN.” But did your spouse wish to be taken seriously, or literally?
You begin to listen for what the people want. What is America crying for? You must be ready to listen if America starts to cry for you specifically, say by forming a PAC in your honor.
Your opinions grow vaguer. Someone asks what you think about Medicare-for-all, and suddenly you find yourself supplying a vacant answer as though you had never heard the words “Medicare,” “for” or “all” before and are making up your own definition at random.
People asked before, “Are you running for president?” And you said no. Now you say, “I am not not not thinking about it. I am beginning to consider the possibility. If the people ask.”
The urge is strong upon you. You are like a salmon trapped below a dam. You cannot stay here any longer. You must go somewhere to better hear the people. To consider and mull, you and your family, together. To not rule things out. You must go to Iowa.
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