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 by Jon Burras
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Elections: Winners and Losers
        The national election back in 2008 was a dramatic turning point in American culture. Barrack Obama had just been elected president along with a majority of Democratic Senators for the Senate. Supreme power and control over the land was now held primarily by the Democrats.
        In his haste to complete his personal agenda before his term in office had ended President Obama ambitiously shoved his health care initiative (ObamaCare) down the throats of the people with a unanimous Democratic support. Not one supportive vote came from the Republican side. President Obama gloated in his speech that "elections are important" and "elections have consequences." Most people would agree that his intentions were to say that his side won the contest and that they (the Democrats) had free reign to do what ever they wished to do.
        As a backlash to President Obama's unwillingness to consider the other party, the Republicans spent the next seven years refusing to work with the sitting president and attempted to block every meaningful piece of legislation that the president tried to put forward. That is why the country has remained deadlocked for 8 years.
        In a war, sporting contest or even an election it is important that the winning side give respect to their opponents and tone down their own gloating. A warring army taking over a country needs to respect those it now has control over just as a sports team that wins a championship must celebrate their victory and then let it go. Nobody wants to hear of someone's dominance over others far after the event has passed.
        The same is true in elections where there are winners and there are losers. Winners need to quietly enjoy their victory and learn how to tone down their victory celebration. We all need to learn how to win with dignity and not with a callous sense of entitlement for our victory. Rubbing it in is just not acceptable. After all, one might find that your co-workers, family members or neighbors might not share your similar views on things.
        Professional sports are littered with inappropriate celebrations. In professional basketball for instance, a player who dunks the basketball over another opposing player and then steps over him in a demeaning manner will be penalized for "taunting." In professional baseball we have seen of late many players perform a "bat flip" where they throw the bat in the air with a celebratory attitude after hitting a home run. This is another way to disrespect your opponent and try to have ownership over him. In professional football a defensive lineman might erupt into a celebratory dance after sacking the quarterback. This is another outcry of trying to be demeaning to the opponent. Overzealous victory celebrations are disrespectable and inappropriate while teaching young children the wrong message.
        Winning needs to come with a sense of celebration of your victory while still respecting your opponent. Relish in your achievement and do not harp on your dominance. Be proud of your success while still being appreciative of the competition. Do not be arrogant in your celebration.
        Just as important as learning how to win we all need to learn how to lose. We have been witness to many riots and demonstrations after this recent election. What we have seen is a collection of sore losers. After President Obama's two victories several years ago we did not see this type of demonstrations. Whether they liked it or not, most who opposed President Obama just grinned and took it.
        Today is different. We see a generation of Millennials who are spurned on by aging progressive college professors, a liberally-biased mainstream media, angry housewives and victim collectives who have a difficult time accepting defeat. This is the same generation who have been coddled and "cup caked" beyond measure. They have never had to experience loss or defeat as they were always handed "participation trophies" even when they did not win in sports. Their parents gave them a cell phone at age eight, a car on their sixteenth birthday, they never had to walk to school in the rain or snow and never had to get a summer job. This is a generation that throws temper tantrums when they lose and do not know how to grieve a loss or to accept the fact that for once they are not a winner.
        There is just as much an art to losing as there is to winning. Losing is about grieving your lost goals that have been torn away from you. It is about surrender into tears of sorrow and being embraced by empathetic shoulders. Whether it is the death of a loved one, the dissolution of a relationship or the loss of an election we should all know how to grieve. In a culture that places little value on our emotional world this can be very difficult. Just observe a young child crying after losing a little league baseball game. This is a such a valuable lesson and you would not want to take that away from him or her.
        Many who do not know how to grieve and accept defeat will often take to the streets in violence or anarchy as a way to protest. They remain frozen in blame and finger-pointing. This is just a modern version of the temper tantrum. They did not get their way and now they are upset. Masses of Millenials who have never had to experience discomfort or loss might be stuck in the frozen energy of a tantrum played out on a large societal stage.
        Celebrating a victory or feeling a loss are both part of our human experience and should not be denied. How we experience them is an entirely different matter. In the course of our formal and informal education we should learn how to do both, either through sports or elections. We ought to be able to accept victory with humility and a defeat with graciousness. Respecting one's opponent ought to be paramount. In our modern culture we do not know how to celebrate well without gloating or how to lose without blaming. If we had more emotional training this might not be this way.
        In some circles of competition the victor has a duty to provide for the defeated. For instance, in the PGA men's golf circle the winner of the event is often obligated to buy a round of drinks after the event for all of the other golfers. In some sports circles like rugby or soccer, the winning team will buy drinks for members of the losing team. In generations past throughout the Mayan Empire, the captain of the winning handball team had his head chopped off. This was considered an honor. Certainly times have changed and a round of drinks is usually enough dowry to suffice.
        Perhaps after an election the losing side might receive special parking privileges or be able to be first in line at the Congressional cafeteria. The winning side might have extra duties assigned to them.
        The lessons we learned in little league baseball and grade school often stick with us well into our adult years. Stop giving participation trophies out in sports to every child even if they did not win anything. Stop protecting children from the pain of defeat. The coddling of children will only lead to more dysfunctional adults who will have always been protected from the pain of loss. Start encouraging children to celebrate responsibly while still respecting one's opponent. Force professional athletes to be roles models and celebrate responsibly.
        Winning and losing are a part of our lives and are not going away. Learning how to win and how to lose are valuable life lessons. We do not have to chop off the head of a member of the winning team and we do not have to take over an intersection or freeway in our tantrum of defeat. Whether you are currently sipping Champaign in celebration or crying into a Kleenex, experience your present moment responsibly.