David Remnick has a piece in The New Yorker about Al Gore, and it's pretty intentionally depressing in some ways.
Gore, along with no small part of the country, is convinced that had things turned out differently in Florida in 2000, had the conservatives on the Supreme Court not outnumbered the liberals by a single vote, the United States would not be in the condition it’s in: the front page would not be describing chaos in Iraq, record budget deficits, the rollback of numerous environmental initiatives, a diminishment of civil liberties, a curtailment of stem-cell research, an erosion of American prestige abroad. Gore does not admit to any bitterness, but it is plain in nearly every speech he gives; and while the feeling may be partly personal—who could blame him?—it runs to a deeper, more public-minded sentiment than the disappointment of his own, or his father’s, ambitions.I'm sure that's how Mr. Gore sees the situation, and were I him I'd be pretty disgruntled about it too.
"Here you have a guy who worked all his life to achieve the one thing he wanted—to be President of the United States, and it was there, in his grasp," Tony Coelho, Gore’s campaign chairman in 2000, said. "He felt Clinton hurt him, but nevertheless he worked his butt off and brought it off. He won the most votes, by half a million, but then the Supreme Court steps in and it’s gone. It is hard for any of us to understand what that means or how it feels. The truth is that Gore is really a policy guy, not a political guy, and for him to feel that he was on the cusp of the ultimate policy job, that he could affect policy and the world like no one else, and then nothing—well, imagine that!"
The lesson to be learned, if there is one, is that wanting something and working hard for it doesn't entitle you to actually get it. It's a sad, disappointing fact of life. Is it fair? Well, yeah, I think so. The only alternative would be to compel people to give you what you want when you want it enough, and that certainly wouldn't be just.
There are lots of things I want, that I work hard for, that I may never get. For example, I'm waiting to hear back from some publishers about a manuscript I sent out a couple of months ago. I worked really hard on it, and I think it's pretty good. Does that mean they have to buy it? Of course not.
Now, working your whole life for the presidency and then losing it is probably much worse than possibly not getting a book published, but it's the same general principle. Mr. Gore worked hard and did his best, but in the end the country didn't want him. So it goes.
Even Jesus faced disappointment and sadness in his life, so how can we expect any different?
Isaiah 53:3So when people reject you, just remember, you're not alone in that.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.