Four miscellaneous thoughts on the election
1. "Mitt Romney Concedes With Class": "He showed no bitterness, offered no excuses, and made no complaints." On the whole I'd rather Mitt was a bad winner than a good loser, but dignity, class, and grace under pressure are always valuable and beautiful. And they endure.
2. Ben Stein, "A Painful Night":
Finally, this seems like a terrible fate. But our party has faced far worse. We were pronounced dead after JFK stole the 1960 election in the cellars of the Chicago City Hall. We were in the morgue after the Goldwater defeat. We were dead and buried after Watergate and the 1974 Congressional elections, when the GOP was just a nub in Congress. We always come back because our principles are better suited to human dignity and human happiness than the other side's. We will come back stronger than ever this time, too. We are not afraid and we shall overcome. Our best days as a party and a movement lie ahead. We will rest, regroup, and fight for our beliefs, and next time, it will be different and better. Truth crushed to earth will rise again . . .
3. Long ago, a British man, discouraged by British reverses in our War of Independence, wrote Adam Smith, "If we go on at this rate, the nation must be ruined." Smith wrote back, "Be assured, my young friend, that there is a great deal of ruin in a nation." (See also Milton Friedman's approving comment.) Adam Smith was as astute an observer of society as I know of and he was right about a lot. I hope he proves right again.
4. And thinking about the Americans who voted to re-elect this administration brought to mind a few minutes of the absolutely best TV I have ever seen. Carmela Soprano is married to a criminal. She realizes that marriage to such a man is destroying her life. But she hasn't gotten close to the courage she needs to break with him. So she sees an elderly psychologist. She is full of self-pity and self-drama and she aches for someone to tell her how noble she is. But the psychologist doesn't play along. He tells her to divorce. Immediately. Now. Her husband has blood on his hands and she can never have a decent life until she leaves. She protests: that would be difficult, what about her children, what about her religious faith? The psychologist argues with her a bit but soon becomes resigned because he has heard similar rationalizations and excuses before. But before she goes he looks at her and, in the tone of an Old Testament prophet, says: "One thing you can never say: that you haven't been told."