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Contests and Decency

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There are norms of behavior that are understandable. Anger and rejection after suffering defeat are normal. We’ve all lost athletic contests, contests of intellect, or contests in office politics. The resentment and disappointment are part of living in a world that has differing opinions.

However, in this culture we are also taught that losing gracefully is necessary for the culture to continue without violence and is usually regarded positively. We swallow our defeats and if committed to our cause or opinion, we reorganize and move on.

It has always been the American way to lose gracefully.... walk across the field and shake hands with your adversary; wish those who got more votes than you success in their victory. It is a lesson that has been taught and respected.

So, in this context, what’s happened to change this thinking about graceful acceptance of defeat?

The answer is at the highest level of our society and its name is Trump. After months of expensive recounts in several states demanded by Trump voters, the results were largely the same. Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the presidential race. Time to walk across the field and shake hands and wish the new choice God speed.

That did not happen. Instead, the former president continued to protest that he had not lost, indeed he claims he won decisively. Every reputable news service agreed that the election had gone to the Democratic candidate and that the reasoning and ground facts showed exactly that.

For the first time in American history, the losing candidate did not concede defeat and congratulate the winner.

Then on January 6, the country was shocked by a coordinated rush of terror on the nation’s capital by those listening to the bogus claims of the Trump machine. The effect of poor losing was made manifest.

Now, as this is written, we are a divided and angry nation. Those of us who do not subscribe to the false notion that Donald Trump was cheated are watching the framework of democracy being gnawed by anger and resentment. New, unnecessary voting restrictions are blooming like weeds.

In Texas, the Republican Secretary of State concedes that the last election was one of the most successful in history, ballooning numbers who voted to new highs. Very few voting errors more than have in the past. However, the governor and his minions declare otherwise and are sponsoring draconian new restrictions on the vote.

This poison of election falsehoods has seeped into a much more serious arena which may undermine our society for decades. Election fiction metastasized into a lack of trust in anything supported by Democrats. The Republican Party and its sycophant outlets like Fox News have convinced many that the Covid-19 threat and the vaccine that controls it are false arguments.

As the numbers of death and new infections skyrocket, the facts are plain, as they are in the vote count. Those dying are now 99.7% unvaccinated. Vaccinations have become a political tool and the results are criminal. People are dying for no reasonable cause.

This is not a Democrat/Republican debate. It is a debate of reality versus propaganda; a debate every individual reading this should ponder. Do you want a health care system based on scientific data, or one based on political propaganda? Do you want to support a system of voting that excludes many eligible voters?

Thomas Paine challenged this nation as it was being created with this thought: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” We are being tried. Which side are you on?

Gary Moore, Bandera County resident, is a Texas State University graduate, former English and football coach, journalist, script writer and photographer.