Friday, November 11, 2016

Losing an Election Hurts!

photo by Steven Spinks / flickr

I had my article half-written before the election congratulating Hillary Clinton for winning the Presidency. Donald Trump would lose, of course. So—my semi-prepared speech was directed to Donald and his followers. Don’t protest this election, I intoned. It wasn’t rigged. Don’t continue your vituperative diatribe on how the country will fall apart and we’ll find ourselves on the ash heap of history if Hillary Clinton wins. I kept going. Cancel all the investigations up your sleeve on our President elect. And for goodness’ sake don’t pull a Mitch McConnell and say that we have to be sure she is only a one-term failed President. And Mr. Trump please don’t miss the Inaugural balls because you and your tribe will meet secretly to plot the demise of Hillary Clinton’s presidency. There is too much at stake to do this.

I wanted to continue to write Mr. Trump—we’ve had gridlock and meanness and racism the last eight years. Nothing consequential has gotten done. Bridges and roads are crumbling. Schools need serious attention. The Supreme Court cannot fill a much-needed slot. So many out there are still jobless or homeless. The veteran suicide rate is tragic. Mr. Trump, lead a movement even though you lost to help bind up the nation's wounds, the way Abraham Lincoln talked in another divided time. 

Guess what? The election messed up my article. And Democrat that I am I have had to sit down and lick my wounds and have an enormous pity party. Ok. Times up. Will I take my own medicine that I was too dish out to the supposed losers? Taking your own medicine is hard to do. Will I dig my heels in and say no way will I do anything but despise this new President who did not even win the popular vote. I can fantacize that in his first day in office we let him know loud and clear that we will do all we can to defeat his Presidency. 

But wait. Maybe I need to remember there are bigger fish to fry than my grief and anger over  a lost election. We’ve got to get things done. We’ve all got to put down our weapons of choice and try to work together. Somebody has got to try to heal our divisions.

That does not mean forgetting our Muslim-Hispanic brothers and sisters. It does not mean ignoring the promises of Trump's wall. It does mean asking over and over: OK, if we erase the health care of 20 million people what do you put in its place? 

But we have got find ways to make this  country work for everyone. So—I’ll closed my eyes and swallow hard and take my own medicine. This is very difficult for a Preacher who has been telling others what to do for 40 years. You—me--us—we’ve got to make this United States the country it can still be. I do believe the charge is: Liberty and justice for all. No exceptions.

I tell couples getting ready to get married winning and losing is not an option in marriage. When you play that game somebody winds up mad and somebody thinks they have the power. Not so. Everybody loses. Compromise, listening, respecting one another, give and take—that is the work of marriage and nation-building. Hmm—I can’t believe I wrote this. But it takes more than a little sugar for the medicine to go down.

(This blog piece was printed in The Greenville News (SC) Op Ed section November 17, 2016)

photo by Quinn Dombrowski / flickr

--Roger Lovette /

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