Thursday, November 6, 2008

Our Proud Democracy

When they had the first votes in Iraq, some said that showed they had accepted democracy. But voting is the easy part. Everyone likes to vote. After all, they had votes in Soviet Russia. Everyone likes democracy ... when they think they are going to win. What proves one's commitment to democracy is one's willingness to acknowledge the authority of those who win even when you didn't support them. Richard Nixon, of all people, set the example, when he refused to challenge the results in 1960 when he lost to John F. Kennedy by the slimmest of margins. He could have fought the outcome, called for recounts, gone to court; but he didn't, for the sake of the nation. Al Gore could have fought the results of the 2000 election far harder than he did. Some even think he might have won in the end. But at what cost to the nation? He too ended his quest, rather than attack the very foundation of democracy. These men truly put country first.

Those on the losing side of this presidential election have been very frank about their greater love of country and the principles of America. Well, now they have the greatest opportunity to show it that one could hope for. They can demonstrate, rather than merely pontificate, their love of freedom and democracy by accepting fully the results of this election and the political power that goes with it. They can show the world, which they so dearly wish to convert to democracy, just how well we do it here in the United States of America. They can show that they truly respect the office of the President of the United States of America, even if they don't like, and even perhaps criticize harshly, its current occupant. They can recognize that the election is over, we have a new president, and show that they are truly worthy of the word we have for lovers of country and democracy: Patriots.

Today I've read comments by Americans saying they won't accept Obama as their president. Their reasons? They use lots of words and phrases: socialist, Marxist, and others that mean essentially the same thing: He doesn't agree with them politically. Well, my fellow Americans, those kinds of disagreements are decided at the ballot box in democracies, and we just did that. You lost. Accept it. That is what being patriotic is all about. It's not about who wears flag pins, or puts yellow ribbons on their car, or who says "God bless America" the most. Anybody can do that. That's easy. Accepting the vote when you lose is hard. That's what it's all about. Without that, there is no democracy. People who can't do that don't deserve democracy. They are unworthy of it. They say the word, but they don't grasp its meaning. They resort to violence when the vote doesn't go their way. They challenge the very authority of the office. They give up on winning at the ballot box and decide to try to effect political change through violence, and threats designed to instill fear. It's nothing new. It's an old tactic that has been tried all over the world for centuries by thousands of people. We have a name for them too:


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Howdy. This is an excellent point, one well worth spreading. My hat's off to you.