Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Rising above Victory ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Rising above Victory ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" gives several checkpoints of maturity, and one on the list is, "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same."

It's important to rise above defeat, as difficult as that may be. Rising above victory, however, may be even more important. An election shouldn't give the winner such an undue sense of having received a mandate that there is no need for humility. When we can meet election victories or defeats "just the same," we have achieved a helpful political maturity.

I've worked in two political campaigns. Both proved victory and defeat to be impostors of sorts - inaccurate assessments of the long-term outcome for the country. One was for the presidency, and our candidate won. History, however, hasn't given his presidency very high marks. In retrospect, I have to admit that the defeated candidate might have made a better president. The other campaign was a gubernatorial one, and our candidate lost. But he went on to serve as a valuable and effective United States senator.

Recognizing that the labels victorious and defeated often have little value, we might all agree to put them aside quickly after an election. At this point, both the elected officials and their contestants can benefit from our good will. Those who didn't win office may be seeking guidance for future steps, and perhaps even healing and comfort for campaign missteps. The elected official has to come to grips with his or her campaign promises.

Even those promises that flow from great integrity often bump into the reality of what is politically possible. Now is the time for everyone to forgo partisanship and mere opinion in order to move our country forward and save it from costly mistakes - costly not only in terms of money, but also in the failure to provide opportunity for all its citizens to more nearly fulfill their potential.

The relevance of this centuries-old Bible verse shines with particular brightness after an election: "The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us" (Isa. …

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