ValueSpeak
A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker

ELECTION DAY LOSERS – AND WINNERS

There’s no easy way to say this: my friend Brad is a loser.

I know that sounds harsh, but what can I say?  He is a good man.  An honorable man.  A man you’d probably like to know.  He’s a faithful husband and a wonderful father.  He is an outstanding professional, well-known, well-liked and well-respected in his field.  His neighbors adore him.  The members of his church congregation admire him.  Even the local newspaper editor says nice things about him (and you know what curmudgeons editors can be).

But Brad is a loser.  Pure and simple.

I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it is.  This is indisputable.  You can look it up.

Brad ran for public office, and he lost.

Ergo, loser.

Of course, Brad – as incurable an optimist as you would ever want to meet – was philosophical about his new-found loser-hood.

“It was fun to be involved in the process,” he said.  “It was like a family project, and we enjoyed working on it together.  We met a lot of people in our community that we never would have met otherwise, and we had some great experiences.  Regardless of how the voting turned out, I don’t feel like a loser.”

But he is one.  It can’t be denied.  I mean, facts are facts.  And this one fact is unassailable: 4,285 votes to 2,865 votes.  Period.  End of discussion.

Loser.

As one who knows Brad, it is tempting to say that his community is the real loser in this election, since they lost out on having the services of a bright and talented person.  But Brad would be the first one to say that that just isn’t the case.

“She’s great,” he said of his victorious opponent.  “I was really impressed with the campaign that she ran, and I’m not at all surprised that she won.  I think she’ll do a great job.  I’ll do everything I can to support her.”

So just a second, Brad.  You’re going to work for the community even though you lost?

“Oh, sure,” Brad said.  “Why not?  I got into this because I want to serve my community.  That hasn’t changed, no matter what happened on Election Day.”

See what I mean?  Is that the kind of thing professional politicians say?  Is that the sort of thing they do?  Unequivocal support?  Magnanimous gestures?  Community service?

What a loser!  He just doesn’t get it.

Or does he?

There was a time when people really did run for public office or work on political causes as a way of giving something back to the community.  They ran because they cared, because they saw a need and wanted to do something to address it.  I’d like to believe that’s still true today – at least, some of the time. 

Thankfully, there are still citizens like Brad who get involved for the right reasons.  Some of them even won at the polls this week.  But I’d like to say “thanks” to those who didn’t.  Thank you for caring enough to participate in what can be a fairly painful process.  You are what makes our country, our states and our communities great.  As far as I’m concerned, you’re all winners.

No matter how much some people around here may want to call you “losers.”

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— © Joseph Walker

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