Roske Leads Waxman in Race for California's 33rd


'It is not the critic who counts...'

If you're unfamiliar with Teddy Roosevelt's inspiring speech to the Sorbonne from 1910, then we're probably not friends. I used to carry this speech in my front pocket (I'm told that the writer Frank Darabont does the same) and it actually changed my life once. The primary sentiment - that the Doer is the one that matters - has informed most of my life's major decisions:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -- Teddy Roosevelt

I've lived and worked in Los Angeles for 15 years now and have endured my share of criticism. When my first film screened at the Laemmle on Sunset the theater manager told me that in his 13 years on the job he had never shown a film with such bad reviews. We got a couple good ones as well but the initial sting took a while to wear off. I started my own anti-holiday on a day when two particularly scathing reviews came out, naming it 'Black Tuesday' and celebrating the anniversary by doing anything other than the pursuit of movie-making.

Making my current leap into the world of politics has had its share of naysayers. Some Washington friends had told me I was heading into rough waters, pleading, 'Why would you do this? We all want to be directors in Los Angeles. You're going the wrong way!' Now that the word is out on my campaign, I've noticed that my LA-party experience has changed as well, with some acquaintances stepping out of photos while others are stepping in. Especially in Los Angeles, everyone is viewed as a potential employer -- unless, of course, you're running for office. Then an alliance could be seen as a potential job-inhibiter, or some other fear-based constriction. I've never encountered this before and I've been surprised to see who is standing up and who is sitting out.

Which brings us to the headline of this article. It's still very early in the race and to my knowledge there aren't any official polls out on our particular contest. Having said that, I'm sure I could line up 10 people to say that the above was true and thereby 'make some news', but that's not the point here. The polls will come. The pundits will practice punditry. The naysayers will say nay. And I will still be running for Congress to create bridges between the two parties. 'It is not the critic who counts'. And Dewey defeats Truman.

Brent Roske is an Independent Congressional candidate for California's 33rd District. Learn more at