A post-Election Day item rescued from a spam filter:

Friends, the votes have been cast, the people have spoken and the campaign has come to an end.

We did not prevail, but remember, for all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.

Before my critics in the “mainstream media” start riding their favorite hobbyhorse and screaming “plagiarism” like they have since my “Homage to Lincoln” announcement speech, it’s not plagiarism. I know it’s a quote from Ted Kennedy, who, while I don’t agree with his politics, knew how to lose with class.

And that’s how we are going to go out, with class and dignity, at the end of this hard-fought race. We may not like the outcome, but the people have spoken (at least the ones that weren’t too lazy to get out of bed and vote), and no matter how much we complain, the state will not conduct a recount (believe me, I’ve been on the phone all morning.)

No one predicted that we would come as far as we did. All the experts and the pundits counted us out. People – like my now ex-wife – told me I was crazy to even try to take on this challenge, but we didn’t listen to the naysayers.

We knew what we were getting into here. We were challenging the status quo and the establishment and the powers-that-be. We knew they would not yield easily.

They threw all of the weapons at their control at us. They knocked us down but we kept getting up.

Right from the beginning they used their influence to challenge our nominating petitions by making the worst kind of allegations against us.

They acted as if they’d never seen a community where people lined up to sign a candidate’s papers in alphabetical order before. Come on! That’s why it’s called “organizing,” folks.

The critics won that round and knocked my name off the ballot, but we kept going as a write-in campaign, and the grass-roots solidarity that was produced made us even stronger.

Then they used the full power of the legal system to try and crush us. They drummed up ridiculous charges and got their lackeys in the courthouse to carry them out.

Well, I’ve got news for the district attorney — accidentally spilling gasoline while you are lighting your pipe is not arson! Good luck trying to prove intent, lady.

All through that ordeal I knew that I could count on your support. When I came down those courthouse steps to the chant of “Indicted is not convicted,” I knew that I was part of a powerful movement.

Because in the end, this was never about me, it was about all of you and the dreams we dreamed together.

I mean, it was about me in the sense that I did most of the work and gave it everything I had, while some of you, frankly, decided to take it easy down the stretch. If you really look deep-down, I think you’ll know who you are.

Were there disappointments? Sure there were disappointments.

People who we thought were with us abandoned us in our hour of need. (Thanks, Mom. Your only son is a loser now. What does that say about your parenting?)

But we also learned a lot, and what does not kill you makes you stronger (I know, Nietzsche), so we will be smarter and stronger next time.

We shouldn’t point fingers. Yes, someone failed to pick up the campaign signs before the print shop closed for the weekend (Ginny). But it really wouldn’t have mattered much, because my name was misspelled (that’s on you Rudolf) and spelling is so important to a write-in effort.

Lastly, I want to congratulate my opponent. Over these last few months, in debates and parades and county fairs, I feel that we’ve really come to know and respect each other.

And although I don’t agree with much of what you say, especially your testimony about the unfortunate fire at your headquarters, I would defend to the death your right to say it. (That’s Daniel Webster, plagiarism police!)

To my worthy opponent, I make this pledge: In the unlikely event that you somehow wiggle through and defeat the other party’s nominee in November, and the polls tell us that isn’t very likely, I promise to follow your every move — within the limits of my bail conditions — and report back to the people, who I like to think of as “our constituents.”

I’ll tell them who you’ve talked to and how they have influenced your actions. I think you would agree that this kind of transparency is essential to the democracy that you profess to cherish.

And lastly, to my friends, and I call you that because by now I really think of you as friends, all I can say is, thanks.

This campaign has reminded me that we live in the greatest state, in the greatest country, in the greatest continent on the greatest planet in the greatest solar system in the universe.

We have been dealt a setback, but we’ll keep fighting. Like I always say, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.

 Greg Kesich is an editorial writer. He can be contacted at 791-6481 or at: [email protected]