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Reflections on the Election, Part Deux

Reflections on the Election, Part Deux

Hello, everyone.

As we all know by now, Barak Obama took the election by a 130 vote margin in the Electoral College. I have now emptied myself of my pre-election angst and want to look at the aspect of winning and losing.

On the old ABC Wide World of Sports, the opening voiceover always talked about “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Once, I was watching the show when they were featuring ski jumping, one of my favorite things to watch, and I saw a ski jumper lose his balance on the jump and roll off the end into the snow. I said to myself, “THAT is going to make it to the opening video.” Sure enough, a few weeks later, it showed up in the video as the agony of defeat.

Every contest has the dual concepts of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Everyone, I am sure, has experienced the tedium of Hollywood stars giving their acceptance speeches at the Oscars. Some even go to the lengths of thanking the companies who manufacture the toilet tissue in their bathrooms. Once, Sally Field is rumored to have said “you like me!” half a dozen times in her speech.

But there is also the agony of defeat. One example that is chiseled on my brain occurred on “The Dating Game” decades ago. The two bachelors who were not chosen came out, said “hi” to the girl, without going anywhere near her, and embraced each other on the stage and then exited.

Elections also have the thrill of victory and agony of defeat. I remember watching the returns in 2008, waiting for Obama to appear and make his victory statement. I remember how excited the crowd in Grant Park in Chicago was. I was excited also, because I was watching history in the making – the first Negro president. I have noticed the grace with which Obama handled his victories. It IS important to be a good loser, but it is equally important to be a gracious winner.

But unfortunately not everyone has it within them to be gracious in defeat. I still remember the Super Bowl a few years ago when the New York Giants won the game. Instead of congratulating the Giants on their win, Bill Bellichick and the New England Patriots left the field and went to their locker room, apparently to engage in their mutual pity party. It is a matter of record that Mitt Romney had composed only one speech for last Tuesday night – a victory speech. When the TV networks called the race an Obama victory, he had no choice but to scribble down a few lines announcing his concession.

The big shots aren’t the only ones who have a hard time handling a loss well. This is from the Crooks & Liars website on Saturday, 11/10/12.

– – – – – – – – – –

But that’s mild, compared to the ragequitting former Ron Paul aide Eric Dondero, who has declared his own personal war on anyone who dared to stand for Obama and his values. In the span of one blog post, he informs readers that he’s done with electoral politics and is now going to promote “outright revolt.”

I give him very small credit for doing so in non-violent ways unlike some of his compatriots, but still, this is insane. Here are some of his ideas:

  • Time to tell any Democrats you know to f*ck off and die
  • Express your hatred, shame, and outright disgust with anyone you know who voted Democrat
  • Boycott Business who accept Welfare payments

In his own words:

I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted ‘O’. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste. Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats.

[…]

All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt.

– – – – – – – – – –

Immediately after the quoted material, Karoli, the writer of the diary, says this:

This is the equivalent of holding one’s breath until one turns blue while stomping feet and screaming “I hate you!” at the top of one’s lungs. It’s uniquely Randian in its selfishness and hate. It’s bad enough that even one person would be serious about doing it, but encouraging your friends and family to do so too, or disowning them for disagreeing about political issues? That’s someone who really needs to drop the Peter Pan act and grow up.

Yes. Grow up. Thinking people don’t rage about things like this, and they certainly don’t call for a hate war on people who disagree with them. That’s middle school crap, folks. It’s not what adults do.”

Are Dondero’s maniacal ideas original? Not in the least. For instance, we have this:

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26, KJV

This is from my copy of Version 5 of the PC Study Bible. There are 12 Bible translation in the basic version of the program, and the only version who does NOT translate “miseo” in the original Greek as “hate” is The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. The other translations that translate “miseo” as “hate” are correct, for “hate” is the proper rendering of the Greek.

And the speaker of these words is revered and the perfect example of agape, or Godly love? Give me a friggin’ break!!

Here is a perfect illustration of the feeling that Jesus was trying to instill into his followers.

Back in 1965 or 1966, when the opposition to the Vietnam war was beginning to hit its stride, a guy named Victor Lundberg had a recording out titled “An Open Letter To My Teenage Son.” Here is the conclusion to the recording:

And I will remind you that your mother will love you no matter what you do, because she is a woman. And I love you too, son. But I also love our country and the principles for which we stand. And if you decide to burn your draft card, then burn your birth certificate at the same time.

From that moment on, I have no son!”

Gosh, that DOES have a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it?

Right around this same time, Johnny Cash had a hit record with a song titled “The One on the Right Is on the Left,” which was written by Jack Clement. here is the third verse of Johnny’s song:

Well the curtain had ascended

A hush fell on the crowd
As thousands there were gathered

To hear the folk songs of our land
But they took their politics seriously
And that night at the concert hall
As the audience watched deliriously
They had a free-for-all

Well, the one on the right was on the bottom
And the one in the middle was on the top
And the one on the left got a broken arm
And the guy in the rear, said, “Oh dear””

One comment on one of the YouTube videos of the song made a point that the song was a satire and that Johnny Cash was good at doing songs that were satires. Yes, I can see the satire in the song. But I would call it a didactic satire, because I believe it is teaching us something at the same time we catch the humor of situation contained in the song. Back in 1966, the thought of anyone taking his political views as seriously as the folk group in the song did was seen as ridiculous. NO ONE believed himself to be THAT right. But that was in 1966. Today, of course, people DO take their politics that seriously, as we have just seen in the recent campaign. At least the conservatives do. Already, conservatives are calling for the assassination of Obama, with some of them getting well-deserved housecalls from the Secret Service. And Eric Dondero has expressed his willingness to disown his own family members who voted for and supported Barak Obama.

That is something that I truly cannot understand. I cannot grasp the idea of disowning family members. But yet I DO understand the mindset that could embrace this unthinkable behavior. I remember one time when I taught at the Fundie high school in Iowa that I approached some of the “adults” that were involved with starting and operating the school about us being friends, and they turned and walked away. The problem was that I was a United Methodist, and therefore I was decorated with the finest set of horns that one could imagine. Refusing an offer of friendship because the person making the offer didn’t believe exactly like they did. So yes, I do understand where Dondero is coming from.

So what can we do about it? Well, we can consider the advice contained in the last verse of Jack Clement’s song:

Now this should be a lesson

If you plan to start a folk group
Don’t go mixin’ politics

With the folk songs of our land
Just work on harmony and diction
Play your banjo well
And if you have political convictions

Keep them to yourself

Now, the one on the left works in a bank
And the one in the middle drives a truck
The one on the right’s an all-night deejay
And the guy in the rear got drafted

But outside of that, there isn’t much that WE can do because it is not OUR problem. The problem belongs to those who are ungracious in defeat. I absolutely LOVE Karoli’s advice: “Yes. Grow up. Thinking people don’t rage about things like this, and they certainly don’t call for a hate war on people who disagree with them. That’s middle school crap, folks. It’s not what adults do.”

She is right. It is NOT what thinking adults do. I have shared in my Solus Christus diaries how Carol’s family walked away from me when I said that I didn’t want to hear their little Jesus Jewels when she died. It has been five years since that happened, and I haven’t heard from them to this day. And that’s OK. But it is still a perfect example of what Karoli is talking about. And the conservative calls for Obama’s assassination go WAY beyond the pale!

So that is how immature little children handle defeat. How do thinking adults handle it? Abraham Lincoln tells us at the end of his Second Inaugural Address:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

That is how Lincoln approached his opposition in 1865 after his second victory. Barak Obama has approached the losers in like manner in 2012 after HIS second victory. Will the Republicans respond in a likewise adult manner? Or will they pursue their hissy fit? Time will tell.

A wise man from the past speaks great truth:

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. — Jonathan Swift

And so I introduce my new G-mail signature.

Have yourselves a great day.

Bill

 

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November 12, 2012 - Posted by | Miscellaneous, Politics | , ,

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