Tuesday, November 03, 2020

On losing

On the way into work today, I listened to quotes from presidential candidates as they conceded that they had lost the election.  The following list isn't from what I listened to this morning - I can't find that - but are quotes from concession speeches:

  • Tonight we rejoice in our democracy, we rejoice in the freedom of a wonderful people and we accept their verdict (Walter Mondale).
  • I want the country to know that our entire administration will work closely with his team to insure the smooth transition of power (George H. W. Bush).
  • I say to president-elect Bush that what remains a partisan rancor must now be put aside and may God bless his stewardship of this country (Al Gore).
  • His success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance, but that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans (John McCain).
  • Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work, and we citizens also have to rise to the occasion (Mitt Romney).
  • Senator Jones has just informed me that the returns indicate your election, and I hasten to extend my congratulations. We have summitted the issue to the American people and their will is Law (telegram from William Jennings Bryan, 1896).
  • I have great faith that our people, Republicans, Democrats alike, will unite behind our next president (Richard Nixon).
  • Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power.  We don't just respect that. We cherish it.  (Hillary Clinton).
  • I have a deep appreciation of the system, however, that lets people make a free choice about who will lead them for the next four years (Jimmy Carter).
I could go on and on.  I find these speeches to be inspiring and some of the most patriotic statements about who we are as a country and how we function.  Go to google and search for presidential consession speeches.  I think you too will find inspiration.  Just reading John McCain's speech almost made me cry. These speeches are a celebration of democracy, given as gifts during a time of deep personal loss.  They are courageous statements during times of grief for the speaker.

How do we, individually, handle losing?  I'm writing this on election day, and while I do not know what will happen, I know that some of us will be happy, and others will not be.  

Bob Dole, in his concession speech, said of President Clinton, "he was my opponent and not my enemy."  How will we treat each other after the results of the election are known (whether it be tonight, or days into the future)?  Will we rise up to who we are meant to be?  Keep fighting for what we believe is right, but not fighting against each other, as if we are enemies?  Will we be Christians, sharing the love of Christ with everyone? 

These speeches are moments of unselfishness.  A concession speech is not required.  It is a decision made by the losing candidate to put the welfare and higher ideals of the country before his or her own desires.  Dare I say, it is a holy moment?

What will your holy moment look like when the results of this race are known?

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