Election 2008: Thank You, John McCain

I finally watched the two main speeches from Tuesday night – both McCain’s concession speech and Obama’s victory speech – and thought I’d share some thoughts.

Obama’s speech was exactly what I expected it to be: appealing to unity and hope for the U.S.’s future.  But while I voted for Obama, campaigned for Obama, and supported Obama, what I really want to say is:

Thank you, John McCain.

I hated your campaign.  I really did.  I thought some of your smear tactics were repugnant (though not unexpected).  HOWEVER. Your speech on Tuesday was one of the most gracious and humbling sights I have seen in a long time.  I appreciated the way you tried to calm down your most fervent supporters when they wanted to drum up antagonism and ill will.  You turned a potentially divisive and hostile situation into a plea for this country’s unity and support for our next President.  You accepted your loss with grace and I am grateful that you consider it your duty, and the duty of every citizen, to support and advise the President on the issues at stake.

This is easy – probably too easy – for me to say, because I was on “the winning side” (whatever that is).  The candidate I supported won, and the candidate I opposed lost.  It’s not hard to feel benevolent toward you at the moment.  However, had it been the other way around, I wish I could say that I – and that Obama – would have taken defeat as well as you did the other night.  Honestly, I don’t know that I could say that.  I probably would have descended into bitterness, cynicism, and self-pity – probably for a good six months.

I hope we all strive to demonstrate your humility and grace in the face of defeat.  Thank you, sir.



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