My preferred candidate lost last night’s presidential election. Actually, my preferred candidate (Mike Huckabee) didn’t even run for president, but of the two main contenders, I voted for the more conservative one in keeping with my beliefs, values and underlying philosophy of the role of government. It was a close election, but in the end, the other guy won.
When that happens, how one reacts says a lot about one’s character and maturity. It is easy and understandable when those on the losing side feel distraught and experience a host of negative emotions. It is equally unsurprising to see the winners jubilant and celebratory. We don’t have to go far – being around other people, watching TV news, engaging in social media, exploring the Web – to see and hear the variety of ways in which both winners and losers respond to the final results.
Since my guy lost, I get the chance to choose how I react in this situation. I can be mad. I can spew hate. I can blame. I can throw out challenges to get revenge next time. But none of those reactions seem particularly inviting, mature, or reflective of the character of anyone I want to be.
Earlier this afternoon I posted how I want to respond on Facebook this way:
“To my fellow Romney supporters, today would be a very good day to be gracious and kind to all, to refrain from any biting remarks, to commit to praying for our president and other leaders, to make every effort we can to understand one another, to do our part to heal a divided nation, and to work together like adults to solve problems. Those of us on the losing side of the vote will most likely not find the eventual outcome to be as horrible as we fear just as those on the winning side will not see all their dreams come to pass. We’ll be OK.”
As my friend Larry stated in a comment to that Facebook post, “It would be even better if everyone did that every day.” I agree.
Leap year lesson #309 is How you handle loss reveals character and maturity.