Winning/Losing an Election
If the candidate I voted for wins I’ll be happy because I agree with a lot of his policies but I’m not going to treat it like a victory and celebrate with cheers or anything of the sort. Doing so would mean that I think this is a battle, and a battle has enemies, and I do not see the other side as an enemy, so, therefore, it is not a “victory” on the “battlefield”.
Battles and victories have a time and place but not in politics because in the end, we are all on the same team. I wish the most important thing about voting for people was making their voices heard no matter what the outcome.
Celebrating a victory if the candidate you voted for wins also denotes this feeling that you are “right” because the majority of people thought to vote for the same candidate. First off, this isn’t about “right” and “wrong”, it’s about making your voice heard. Your take on a matter, like a presidential candidate, even if the majority of people voted with you, doesn’t mean the other side is “wrong”. It is much more nuanced than that. Some thoughts on that:
- Just because someone won an election doesn’t mean that everything they do after that is okay or “right”. The election is just one part and you hope they will make good decisions afterward as a president but it’s possible they won’t. Their performance as a president should be questioned with every new decision.
- More about this last point — I believe it is easy for the group of people who voted for the winning president to acknowledge the good and bad that the aforementioned president does during their term. I don’t believe all the people that voted for President Obama are happy with every choice he made and all the people that voted for President Trump are happy with everything he did. I think that is easy to see in both cases. But what is an easy concept for the winning side to grasp is an extremely hard one for the losing side to replicate for two reasons:
- So many on the losing side want to tear down the president every opportunity they get. Many times they are justified — the President made a bad choice — but other times they are stretching too much to make the condemnation work and in taking a chance to tear down the president they missed an opportunity to find common ground and support the president for the good of the country (by the way, for you who just stretched your logic, now because you stretched your justification to condemn the president you have just alienated yourself from the other side even more because yeah, you were being a little crazy).
- In an effort to tear down the president one side might overlook the fact that the other side is also not happy with the decision made, further separating themselves from the president’s political party in anger because they can’t believe how the other side would agree with such a misstep. Maybe they don’t! And even though they actually agree with you on this one, you’ve just made it harder to listen to the other political party once again with another quiver in your arrow to use against them the next time a civil discussion would really benefit you.
- Now back to the point where feeling that you are “right” because the majority of people thought to vote for the same candidate — it’s also false to believe that all people who voted for the same candidate agree with you on many of your stances. They might only agree with you on one thing so it’s not like you’re all happy for the same thing. It’s much more nuanced.
Also, celebrating means you think the other side has “lost” but this isn’t just a sports game where the losers don’t get the trophy. They still live in this country, they are still on your team in that sense, and as I said before, this doesn’t mean that every other policy they side with in the future is wrong.
If you lost wouldn’t you hope that the other side didn’t celebrate it as a win and felt the same way as I am describing to you that I do? Because then it wouldn’t seem like all was lost.
A political “win” is not a victory lap that you go get to take with your team. A win is more like a group of friends who decided to watch a movie after taking a vote but the friends in the minority are still hanging out with the friend group. They are all still a part of one friend group and in this example, it would be silly for one friend to act proud for voting for the winning movie and it would be silly for the “losing” friends to be sad as if all hope was lost and they can’t change their attitude to enjoy at least part of the movie.
When one political figure wins we are all still in the same country. And it would be best for the winning side to remain civil, not arrogant. And it would be wise for the losing side to make the best of the situation instead of tearing the winning side down. And, the winning side should understand that the losing side might be sad or hurt — that’s okay. Don’t rub it in their face because that would be arrogant, uncivil, and not accomplish anything good other than massaging your ego.
The example of the friend group above with the movie could also be applied to friends choosing a place to eat. They might not all have the same choice but even (hopefully) the minority voting group can find something on the menu they like at the majority’s chosen place.
— — — — — — —
Here I step out of my article to extrapolate feelings that might result from a piece like this. The feeling one might have is “But I want to celebrate this great victory!” I don’t know if that’s what they’d say, but the idea is that some people think a more civil approach to politics is less exciting. At least, I do 😅. But to myself and anyone else who feels this way I’d say this:
“Oh, so winning an election seems less fun when I put it that way? Deal with it, this isn’t a sports game, this is people’s real lives. IDEALLY, there isn’t drama and fun made out of people’s valid beliefs and opinions that just got bruised a little bit. I’m all about boring politics.”
p.s. #makepoliticsboring is the idea that if we were all civil in politics like we should be then politics would most likely become boring and that’s okay — that should be the goal.
As I am writing this I found out Joe Biden was officially announced as 46th President of the United States. I’ll finish the article but I’ll also share my thoughts on this right now. It is what I’ve been thinking about this past week.
I did not vote for him but I will support him as much as I can in order to make this a success for the whole country. I’m not going to take any preconceived stances on what kind of president he is or how good of a job he’ll do.
What I do like is that President Biden (I guess not yet but close enough) has promised multiple times he will be a President for the American people, not the Democratic party. I believe him in that and will take some comfort there. I will also watch and see if that’s truly the case. But we’ll see, I’ll take it one day at a time.