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Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2016
The sore loserPosted Wednesday, October 14, 2009, at 11:33 AM
One of our web site commenters was less than pleased with the outcome of Tuesday's election:
This whole thing stinks, I'm ashamed of the people of shelbyville and surrounding counties. My apologies go out to [candidate] for the evilness in the world, money talks and people walk. I'd be ashamed if I was accepted for office cause I had to buy your vote, and that's is exactly what is going on in the world today, and we want god to bless our nation, maybe its best that obama has his way and we turn socialist or communist, cause you people are low lifers and a undeserving to the soldiers fighting for a just United States, and most of all to god, bet you can't buy your way into heaven, go ahead and try. I just want to go under my bed and hide until you all receive your justice, anyone want to try and buy me off with a chunck of money to shut up. You are all a bunch of bought off [prostitutes].
Don't be shy; tell us what you really think.
The American system of government is based on representative democracy. The people get to vote for who they want to represent them. If you are a voter, sometimes the candidate you agree with or support will be elected, sometimes a candidate you disagree with and did not support will be elected. That's the system under which we operate.
It's entirely appropriate to say, "I think the public made a mistake by voting for Candidate X instead of Candidate Y, and here's why I think so." It's also appropriate to say "money and advertising play an inappropriately-large role in our political discourse" if you believe that to be true.
But I think it's wrong, not to mention counterproductive, to call someone "bought off" or a "low life" just because they voted for someone different than you did. The American system means that people have the right to vote for whomever they choose.
It's also a little arrogant -- in any race or election -- to claim that God favors your candidate, and only your candidate. Even if we could look over God's shoulder at God's position on each and every governmental issue, I think we'd find that no candidate was in perfect agreement right down the line. There are conservative principles in line with some Bible teachings; there are liberal princples in line with some Bible teachings; there are moderate compromises in line with some Bible teachings. People of faith have to use their own consciences and common sense and vote for whomever they feel will be the best overall. And reasonable people who believe in the same God may turn out to believe in different political parties or candidates.
It's always disheartening when a candidate in whom you believe strongly ends up losing. But that's not an occasion for name-calling your fellow citizens or the candidate whom they elected. It's an invitation to re-evaluate, and to re-energize, so that you can get your message out more effectively the next time around.
Someone once said that representative democracy was the worst system of government ever invented -- except for all the other systems. Democracy is not always easy, or pretty, especially when you find yourself on the losing side. But it's the best system we have.
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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.