Elec­toral losers in the Philip­pines should learn from Amer­i­can politi­cians

“No part of the ed­u­ca­tion of a politi­cian is more indis­pens­able than the fight­ing of elec­tions.” –Win­ston Churchill

Watchmen Daily Journal - - Opinion -

In the Philip­pines, in­stead of mak­ing a con­ces­sion speech, los­ing elec­toral can­di­dates have been known to cry out, “We wuz robbed.” In­stead of in­spir­ing or help­ing min­i­mize the sad­ness felt by emo­tion­ally-distraught sup­port­ers, the sore loser Pi­noy pro­vokes the crowd with false hope.

“We will win in the elec­toral protest,” they de­clare. “The truth will come out.”

In­stead of mov­ing on af­ter a failed bid for pub­lic of­fice, the failed Filipino can­di­date ex­tends their hurt­ful ri­valry by pur­su­ing an elec­toral protest, wast­ing tax­payer money and time. Af­ter then-Pres­i­dent Fer­di­nand Mar­cos “de­feated” then-can­di­date Co­ra­zon Aquino in the 1986 snap elec­tions (the lat­ter even­tu­ally as­sumed of­fice af­ter top­pling the strong­man through the Peo­ple Power move­ment), there have been only two losers in Philip­pine pres­i­den­tial con­tests that ac­cepted de­feat: Jose de Vene­cia (af­ter los­ing to Joseph Estrada in 1998) and Mar Roxas (who lost to Ro­drigo Duterte in 2016).

There have been claims of “elec­toral fraud” on all lev­els of the Philip­pine po­lit­i­cal spec­trum. No­body ever plainly and hon­estly loses; they are al­ways a “vic­tim of mas­sive cheat­ing and vote-buy­ing.” The noise and an­noy­ing grum­bling from these los­ing bets stem from their need for a job in gov­ern­ment since work in their in­dus­try can no longer pro­vide suf­fi­cient in­come to sus­tain their sky­rock­et­ing ex­penses; they in­clude en­ter­tain­ers, ath­letes, and singers – who all live lav­ish life­styles.

Belly­ach­ing, com­plain­ing, and “stir­ring up a hor­nets’ nest” af­ter elec­tions is a na­tional trade­mark of the Philip­pines and, come May 2019, ex­pect for nit­pick­ers, whin­ers, and cry­ba­bies to make a scene af­ter be­ing re­jected in the polls.

What Filipino losers (and win­ners) must learn from their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts

Among the qual­i­ties worth pick­ing up for Philip­pine elec­toral losers (and win­ners) in the in­clude hu­mil­ity, grace, states­man­ship.

Cov­er­ing the 2018 US midterm elec­tions, which took place ear­lier this week, the con­ces­sion speech by Texas se­na­to­rial can­di­date Robert Fran­cis ‘Beto’ O’Rourke should be con­sid­ered one of the best in mod­ern elec­tions. It stands up as the most emo­tional, but downto-earth and sin­cere, speech from the po­lit­i­cal heart­throb many pro­gres­sive be­lieved was the next Robert F. Kennedy.

Here is the tran­script of his dy­namic and mag­nif­i­cent speech:

“El Paso has pro­duced some re­ally great teams over the years. I am very lucky I got to be part of one that came out of this com­mu­nity. For the last 22 months, I have been trav­el­ing ev­ery county in Texas. I have been there to lis­ten to and show up for ev­ery one of us. I was in­spired and I am as hope­ful as I have ever been in my life. Tonight’s loss does noth­ing to di­min­ish the way I feel about Texas or this coun­try. Get­ting to see all of you tonight and be with you re­minds me why we set out to do this in the first place. We’re not about be­ing against any­body. We’re not go­ing to de­fine our­selves by who or what we’re scared of. We are great peo­ple. Am­bi­tious. De­fined by our as­pi­ra­tions and the hard work we are will­ing to com­mit in or­der to achieve them. Ev­ery sin­gle one of us from a big city to a small town, the peo­ple of Texas will do the great work of the coun­try. I have now had the op­por­tu­nity to talk with Sen. Cruz and con­grat­u­late him on his vic­tory and wish him well go­ing for­ward. What I pledged on be­half of all of us is that in this time of di­vi­sion, with the coun­try as po­lar­ized as I can re­mem­ber it in my life, all of this bit­ter­ness, if there is any­thing we can do to help him in his po­si­tion of pub­lic trust to en­sure that Texas helps lead the coun­try in a way that brings us back to­gether around big things we want to achieve, whether that is mak­ing sure we face any threat against this coun­try or that we are there for ev­ery sin­gle per­son who needs a help­ing hand so we can let your full po­ten­tial, the abil­ity to see a doc­tor and re­ceive med­i­ca­tion you need, I want to work with him. I will work with any­one to make sure we lead on that. You amaz­ing pub­lic school ed­u­ca­tors who work so hard and do so much for so many of us, I will work with him or with any­one, any­time, any­where, to make sure that the same way you have been there for us, we will be there for you. Not as Repub­li­cans or Democrats, but as Tex­ans and Amer­i­cans. I want to make sure that this com­mu­nity that raised me and made me who I am, where Amy and I are for­tu­nate enough to be rais­ing our kids who are here with us tonight, that we of­fer our ex­pe­ri­ence,

ex­pe­ri­ence, per­spec­tive, courage on the is­sues we know best. We will form some­thing pow­er­ful, mag­i­cal. I have noth­ing to apol­o­gize for. I want to make sure that this proud com­mu­nity of­fers, has to give to our coun­try and to en­sure our best days are still ahead and the poli­cies and laws we craft and the way we treat each other comes not out of fear, but out of con­fi­dence and strength in the kind hearts I have al­ways known El Paso to have. El Paso, I love you so much. I am so proud of you in the city and com­mu­nity and what you mean to the rest of the coun­try. And what you have achieved tonight, along with so many other amaz­ing peo­ple across the state. The kind­ness, gen­eros­ity you have shown to me and Amy and our fam­ily, and to our cam­paign, it’s amaz­ing. That is why my faith in this state and coun­try is not di­min­ished. We will con­tinue to work and come to­gether to make sure that we live up to the prom­ise of po­ten­tial of the coun­try. I know that be­cause I met you and lis­tened to you ev­ery­where you live. I want to thank my fam­ily, be­gin­ning with Amy, who has borne the tough­est bur­den rais­ing our kids, sup­port­ing me, lov­ing me, giv­ing me strength and en­cour­age­ment at ev­ery step, mak­ing sure we could fin­ish this as strong as we started. I want to thank our chil­dren and my mom and sis­ters and my fam­ily, all of whom are here tonight, for be­ing such great ex­am­ples to me. I love you. I want to thank this amaz­ing cam­paign of peo­ple. Not a dime from a sin­gle PAC. All of you show­ing the coun­try how to do this. I am so f***ing proud of you guys. David, Jody, Chris, Cyn­thia, ev­ery­body who worked on this cam­paign, ev­ery vol­un­teer and am­bas­sador, ev­ery­one who knocked on doors, ev­ery­one who made phone calls, ev­ery­one who al­low them­selves to hope and be­lieve, to be in­spired by one an­other and to turn it into ac­tion and into votes, and to do some­thing that no one thought was pos­si­ble, to build a cam­paign like this one solely com­prised of peo­ple from all walks of life, com­ing to­gether, de­cid­ing what unites us is far stronger than the color of our skin, how many gen­er­a­tions we can count our­selves an Amer­i­can, or whether we just got here yes­ter­day, who we love, we pray to, whether we pray at all, who we voted for last time, none of it mat­ters. It is the great­ness to which we aspire and the work we are will­ing to put into it to achieve it by which we will be known go­ing for­ward. This cam­paign holds a very spe­cial place in the his­tory of this coun­try. Ev­ery day go­ing for­ward. You have made that pos­si­ble. This team of which we are all mem­bers in some way is go­ing to stay to­gether and con­tinue to aspire to do great things. It may be in in­di­vid­ual races and com­mu­ni­ties. It may not have any­thing to do with pol­i­tics. But each of us, some­times to­gether find­ing ways to make life bet­ter for one an­other in our com­mu­ni­ties. There are so many great can­di­dates who will come out of this cam­paign whose work I look for­ward to sup­port­ing and fol­low­ing and cheer­ing on. Know this: I am for­ever changed in the most pro­foundly pos­i­tive way. I am for­ever grate­ful to ev­ery sin­gle one of you for mak­ing this pos­si­ble. I be­lieve in you and I be­lieve in Texas and in this coun­try. I love you more than words can ex­press and that love will per­sist ev­ery day go­ing for­ward, mak­ing sure what­ever we have cre­ated and changed, and all of us will de­cide what that means and how far it goes, that it leads some­thing far greater than what we have to­day and that ev­ery­thing one of us con­tin­ues to be­lieve and made pos­si­ble the great­ness of the United States of Amer­ica. I am hon­ored to have been able to do this with you and grate­ful. We will see you down the road. Thank you, El Paso. Thank you, Texas. Thank you, ev­ery sin­gle one of you, for mak­ing this pos­si­ble. I am so grate­ful. Thank you. Thank you.”/WDJ

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