I write in response to the article on Adlai Stevenson 1922 by Mark Bernstein ’83 that appeared in the October issue (“Still Madly for Adlai”). As I remember it from a magazine I read in the 1950s, the exchange between Stevenson and a shout from an onlooker took place in 1952 and went like this: “Governor, all the thinking people are for you!” To which Stevenson shouted back, “Yes, but I need a majority.” There was no hint of condescension. It was not part of his character.
Adlai Stevenson was my political hero. I turned 12 two days before he was crushed by Eisenhower’s landslide. It was far more crushing for me than for Stevenson. The day after, he quoted words spoken by Abraham Lincoln after he lost an election. Lincoln compared himself to a 9-year-old boy who had stubbed his toe in the dark: “It hurts too much to laugh but I’m too old to cry.” When it came time for me to apply to college, I hoped to follow in Stevenson’s footsteps. He was to me the very epitome of what an educated person should be — the very model of eloquence and humility.