Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Repercussions of Elections

Well, with all the election hoopla over, we can now use this tumultuous time to have some good discussions with our DeMolays. Some people are happy with the elections, some aren't, but there are certainly valuable lessons that can be taught.

I think the first thing that needs to be addressed is how to be a good winner and a good loser. For several months politicians degraded, libeled, and called each other out on the issues and their character. It's pretty hard to come together and say "good game" after that. The great part of democracy (well, a republic anyways) is that it encourages this kind of making-up period at the end of the race. More importantly though, people from all over the political spectrum need to come together for the greater good.

Recently, I had a Facebook friend post several borderline inflammatory statements. Everyone has the right to their opinion and it was obvious that this person (a father of four, a devout Christian, and all around good guy) was very upset with the current state of affairs with our government and wanted to see some people out of office. Just after the election he made this post, "ONE PIECE OF TRASH OUT- DAHLKEMPER HAS BEEN DUMPED!" in reference to a race in my home town of Erie. About a half an hour later he posts this:

 "OK, maybe my last post was a bit harsh, I was only playing on the "Dump Dahlkemper" slogan and my earlier post today. People are not "trash" as ALL people are made in the image of God....Some are just incorrect in their thinking and belief system..."

Again, we are all entitled to our opinions and I will never begrudge a person that. However, we need to apply this kind of rhetoric to DeMolay to teach our young men some principles and morals in conjunction with some grace and class.

DeMolay does well when teaching young men about the political process through hands on experience. Whether that be in their home Chapter or on a state level, the politics of DeMolay elections are just as real as those that involve the government. When I was running for elected state office in DeMolay I had to make some very hard choices. I decided that was more important that I get elected and serve instead of running against someone and beating them. In retrospect, I'm still happy with that decision, mainly because I weighed my options and made an informed choice. Our most recent DeMolay state elections were pretty grueling. Each and every candidate ran a good campaign and there were some close votes. The highlight, for me a least, was seeing the candidates come together after the election, shake hands, and move on. They know that being an elected state officer isn't about them, it's about the program, and whether they win or lose, bettering DeMolay is still their number one priority.

Take this latest election and these ideas back to your Chapter. Talk to your young men about how to compromise after elections to get things done, and how to win with grace and class, rather than degrading those who lost. History is written by the winners, as they say, but historians aren't afraid to label people losers when they abuse their victory with thoughtless and classless celebration.

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

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