Losing with Class a Lost Art at Politician School

March 23, 2010

Rules of Political Sportsmanship Missing in Action

With the recent vote on health care not going the way of the GOP, the nasty reactions are so bad that something needs to be said before they drive the once great and storied party off the cliff.

The party that brought us Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and the great General Dwight D. Eisenhower demands that it finds it’s way back to winning and losing with class. But how?

First, what’s with the losing with no class thing? Who decided that was a good idea? This is positively the worst idea that the Republican party stands by beyond anything and everything.

Being a suppporter of many good Republican ideas, I fear that those ideas are now getting lost under the weight of a lost decency, classless soul, and a digusting vulgarity that neither benefits the party nor does a service to the American people who simply seek the very best solutions for the great challenges facing our country.

This is a major spiritual crisis for the Republican party as there is a profound connection between a man’s character off the political field and his good sportsmanship and class on it.

When we hear a congressman yell “Baby Killer” at another on the field of battle and party leaders make excuses for it or, worse, do not take action against it, it simply amounts to trash talking that takes it’s cue from lessor endeavors and reduces the party’s soul into an sad mess found only on the ugliest and lowest of streets.

The party and any Politician who engages in such folly does not need new ideas, it needs class, grace, and good sportmanship.

To this writer, good sportsmanship encompasses many aspects of a man’s character, the most fundamental being respect.

The good political sportsman respects both his fellow party mates and his opponents as equals. He plays the gambits with integrity. A win that does not come fairly holds no satisfaction for him. He is honest in his dealings with opponents because he treats them the way he wants to be treated. He is humble in his victories and has the proper perspective on his losses. In short, the qualities that go in to making a good man are the same ones that contribute to being a great politician.

The lowbrow idea that trash talking and encitement using hyperbole is somehow endearing or influential let alone a an effective political gambit lacks wisdom and spiritual purpose.

Recently, we saw Scott Brown, a Republican defeat a Democrat for Senate in the great State of Massachucetts. I watched closely waiting the head of the Democratic party to come up with some slur to match the lowly calls of nigger, fag, homo, socialist, commie, and hitler speak we’ve seen on the other side.

Yet, upon this surprising and unexprected victory, the head of the Democratic party, President Barack Obama, congratulated Mr. Brown with grace and respect. Of course, he must have been profoundly angry, disappointed, and riled up. But he offered NO slurs and no ugly words.

Meanwhile, some within his own party wanted to call a vote before Sen. Brown was seated in the senate thinking to take advantage of the bit of time needed for Senator Brown to travel to Washington DC from Boston. But President Obama made it very clear that, out of respect, it would be right to wait and allow Senator Brown to be seated propertly before they continue.

To me, this is a profound example of a true political gentleman who is confident in his own ability enough to allow the other side to make it’s case within the rules of the game. This is NOT to say that I support President Obama on all his ideas or gambits, I do not. It’s only to say by his actions, he demonostrates and sets the tone for respect and honor within his party and does it a great service when he extends his hand in good competition and civility to his opponents.

If you recall when V.P. Joseph Biden made a horrible jesture during a talk at a podium where President Obama stood behind him, President Obama let it be known with his facial expression and flinching that this was not acceptable. That is proper leadership as a tone is being set.

For those reading this that have a pre-disposed position to disagree with anything Obama, please note that what I say here goes for all Politicians, not just Republicans albeit, today, it’s the Republicans are the one’s that stand to gain much more from redeploying good sportsmanship than do their oppponents.

Okay, so on the Republican side, there has yet to be the same awakening and it’s clearly destroying the party and keeping it from being effective. This cannot stand.

As men’s character off the field of competition has declined, so has their behavior on it. Politicians pout and even cry when they lose and they gloat when they win. A man should understand that good political sportsmanship truly enhances the experience for his party and himself not to mention the American citizenry.

Politicians feel encouraged by one another and take satisfaction in the fact that the political game was played fairly and a win or lose are not taken personal but simply a measure of where they are in the space as they seek to move America forward.

I think Teddy Roosevelt summed it up best when he said “Hit the line hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard!”

What Ted said is absolutely more than fair, it’s expected. One should play to win as the compeition demands such.

But Politicians need to stay positive. It’s easy to get negative when things aren’t going one’s way. A wise man knows how to stay positive when the chips are against him.

Politicians need to keep the trash talking within private closed door meetings where they can vent, get it out of their system, and then get back out and compete so that the American public can be benefit from the quality effort.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the politician who continually runs his mouth with trash talk is usually the politician that isn’t actually doing much to help his party win. I guess it’s their way of making up for their lack of skill.

A better approach is to stop wasting one’s energy on running one’s mouth. One should concentrate on actually outplaying one’s opponent. Keeping one’s eye on the ball is righteous. It seems to me that Republicans should let their performance speak for itself and stop engaging in ugly name calling. It’s not helping them at all. It’s hurting big time.

Thing of it….we all lose at one time or another. To me, everyone needs to learn to lose gracefully.

In any political game, there will be always be winners and losers. And sometimes Politicians are going to be on the losing side of the equation. The sooner they accept this fact, the easier it will be to handle a loss. When a Politician loses, they don’t need to sulk or throw a temper tantrum. They just need to man up and give the opponent a congratulatory handshake.

Together, we must win with class. All of us. Our collective tribe demands it.

If a Politician finds themselves in winner’s circle, they need to remember to show some class. They ought not gloat or put down the other party after the win. They need to let their performance speak for itself. After the political game, they need to make sure to tell the other party “good effort” and offer some compliments to the opposing party. That’s class.

As a not so famous father once told me “Never gloat on your way up because you’ll never know who you’ll see on your way down”.

Class! Learn it. Know it. Live it.

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