Sunday, November 9, 2014

Politics and More--Winning and Losing

photo by mandarin77 / flicklr
Losing is no fun. Ask all the candidates in this off-year election that worked hard, spent too much money and still found themselves defeated. Mostly Democrats. But whether you are red or blue or striped or a thousand shades of grey losing is no fun.

But you don’t die from losing you just wish you could. We’ve all lost a whole lot. Not just some political race but more. We’ve lost health, status, money, friends, and people we loved greatly. Most of us have some place like the wistful song: “O give me a home where the buffalo roam...” In the college town where I live losing is not supposed to happen to our team. But it does. And what happens if the scoreboard turns in favor of our cursed opponents. Sometimes we feel like we are nobody, that we don’t count and that the sky is cloudy all day long. People who have never seen the inside of a college don the home teams colors and finery. Buy expensive tickets, tailgate like crazy and scream until their voices are hardly a whisper. And if the team loses they walk away as if somebody or something special has died. We put too much money and effort and commitment into something that is far from perfect. And if too much is lost we politely fire the coach and look everywhere for somebody that will win, win, win.

I hate to mention politics but I will anyway. As I have seen John McCain muttering and castigating the President daily I wonder if any of his opinions are shaped by the fact that he lost to our President. Poor losers are no fun to be around. I think the same thing—only more so—about Sarah Palin who is still smirking and sarcastically dissing the President. Some people--columnists and pundits have made a cottage industry—not to speak of zillions of dollars they have made—have never gotten over the hard fact that they lost the election to a black President twice.

But I need to be fair. Mr. McConnell has now made it to Senate Majority Leader. I do remember the first days Mr. Obama was in office that Mr. McConnell said his number one goal was to make sure that this new President failed. He has certainly done his part. I couldn’t get over an elected official of national stature saying this. I kept thinking if the President fails—don’t we all fail? Hmmm.

But now Mr. McConnell is on center stage—not as President but in a powerful political position. Should Mr. Obama have as his stated purpose to make sure that Mr. McConnell fails? Republicans will cry unfair. Democrats will lick their chops. Wouldn’t it be healthier to at least try to work with this man for the good of the country? I’m not talking about giving up principles—but I am talking about working together to get our country off the skids.

Some of us lost this past Tuesday in the election. Some of us won. Now what? Shall we rub the losers noses in their defeats—shall the losers spit and claw at the winners. We are in a hard time. We have big fish to fry. Jobs maybe first. Dealing with the unending war in the Middle East which has been going on for centuries really. But we all need to be for something not agin' something.

Maybe I’ve rambled too long. But I do remember the wonderful story of Mother Teresa. Some columnist went to India and watched her work. Picking up little starving and dead babies. Hugging, carrying them to the hospital—reaching out to what seemed like endless disease and poverty. The reporter asked Mother Theresa didn’t she get discouraged. Wasn’t what she did a hopeless task? Why didn’t she do something where she could see some results? She turned and looked at him and said, “Young man I do what I can, where I am, with what I have.”

Losers or winners—not bad advice for a country desperately in need of people who will continue the hard work of making the USA live up to its dreams and Constitution.  


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