Grace Under Democracy

MSNBC recently added a new show to its line-up with the addition of Melissa Harris-Perry on their Saturday programming. Harris-Perry is another uber smart female in the same vein as Rachel Maddow that MSNBC has been taking a chance on. She is currently a professor of political science at Tulane University in Louisiana and has been an MSNBC contributor for some time.

She had an interesting guest this weekend; Scott Farris, author of ‘Almost Famous’, who made a cogent point regarding the losers in political contests. Specifically, he wrote about William Jennings Bryan and Henry Clay, two of history’s notable bridesmaids. Ms. Harris-Perry also discussed the effects of Al Gore’s loss versus Ralph Nader or more recently Ron Paul.

Farris’ book dealt with the effects that political losers have in history. Al Gore, for example, went on to do other things that possibly outweighed anything he might have done had he won in 2000. But another of the points that Farris made had to do with the success of a Democracy being dependent on the acquiescence of the loser. One may come in first in a political contest but you don’t actually win until the runner-up concedes. There are still plenty of people who have never gotten past the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore. Likewise, for whatever reason, there are plenty on the right who have never accepted the election of Barack Obama. It’s only due to the inarguable numbers that there has not been a lot of vocal objection to the defeat of John McCain. There has been plenty of other objections to the legitimacy of the presidency that persist today despite evidence to the contrary. While they have conceded that John McCain lost, the birthers have not given up their quest to invalidate President Obama.

A glaring example of this discrepancy is the President’s foreign policy. If George W. Bush had captured or killed Osama bin Laden, his picture would by now have replaced Ulysses Grant on the fifty dollar bill, his likeness would be being carved into Mt. Rushmore at this writing, and certainly the next aircraft carrier would be named after him.

But Barack Obama got America’s most wanted criminal yet the recognition is generally dismissed. Where is the love?

At the core of this is the impending doom of the Republican party. Fractured by the super-irrational Tea Party faction, the Republican party has quickly run out of platform. What will happen when they lose in November? Will they accept defeat? Or will they rebel? Given the vitriol and scathing rhetoric, there is a fair chance that there will be an angry rebellion.

Democracy only works if one accepts the rules of a democracy. If those rules are rejected, it ceases to be a democracy. We may need to be prepared for that circumstance.


About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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