Winners and Losers

There are winners and losers in an election. That’s just the way it works, the way it has always worked. The person with the most votes wins. Sometimes that person is the one you wanted and sometimes it’s not. But wishing won’t change the reality.

I’ve lost races before. We all have. We didn’t get elected to the student council or officer in an association – or elected to Congress or president. It’s just not possible for everyone to win. And I grew up in an America where, if you didn’t win, you conceded defeat gracefully (if not happily) and stepped aside for the winner to take the spot you wanted for yourself. You looked at what worked and what didn’t and decided whether or not to try again. You let go and moved on.

But the idea of simply saying you won’t accept the result of an election unless you win is an alien concept. Everyone can’t win. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. Sometimes you just lose because more people vote for the other person, even if you don’t understand or like that they did.

In this midterm election we find candidate after candidate already anouncing that they would not admit defeat, that losing a race automatically means there is fraud or irregularity because of COURSE they would win.

Losing is a bitter pill, and the higher the office, the harder that pill is to swallow for both the candidate and their followers. There have been many elections where the person I supported lost and I had to simply accept it even while seething at the jubilation of the winning side. But those losing candidates understood that two people can’t win the same race for a single spot. One of them wins, the other loses.

I’m afraid for our country. I’m afraid of the hatred and vitriol that I see spilling out of political ads and news broadcasts. And I’m afraid of the same words hurled by neighbor against neighbor when they hold different positions. More people are so full of anger and pent up violence, and more of them have guns and the freedom to carry and use them. That doesn’t make me feel more secure; it makes me more afraid that innocents will be shot because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We live in a climate of violence all the time now and it’s going to erupt in dangerous ways. I’m afraid of what’s coming.