Being a football fan, I love bowl games. This past week I got to watch my alma mater play in the Cotton Bowl against a very talented and highly ranked Florida team.
After the game, I was disappointed by remarks made by Florida Coach Dan Mullen. He had a right to be frustrated considering his team was missing multiple players, including three offensive starters who opted out of playing their final college game to prepare for the NFL draft or were forced out due to being COVID positive. Mullen’s excuses, however, seemed to many as showing poor sportsmanship and gave the appearance of not being willing to accept defeat gracefully.
This same attitude is in politics, as well, with some supporters of President Trump not accepting the defeat at the ballot box, including many senators and representatives who have indicated that they will object to the certification of the Electoral College votes which would place Joe Biden in the White House.
Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri sparked outrage from both parties when he announced this week that he would object because of the questions that were raised about fraudulent votes in certain states. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has discouraged his fellow Republicans to object and to accept the defeat, and Democrat Senator Dick Durbin said Hawley’s objection will not be taken seriously and called it akin to “a dog barking at the moon.”
However, it is interesting that Democrats who are now screaming at Trump supporters to accept the outcome of the election and stop making false accusations about fraud are the exact same ones who have spent millions of taxpayers’ dollars the last four years screaming about a fraudulent election themselves. These same individuals calling for unity are the same ones who have spent the last four years bitterly dividing this country. These same individuals now saying there was no election fraud under Trump’s watch were saying there was fraud under President Obama’s watch in 2016.
This is not a new precedent either. The last three elections won by Republicans – Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 – brought fraudulent claims from Democrats, including objections from House Democrats in each of those years.
In 2005, Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer from California and Democrat Representative Stephanie Tubbs of Ohio both objected to Bush’s 2004 Ohio votes. Want to make a guess as to who praised the move at the time saying it “gives members an opportunity once again on a bipartisan basis to look at a challenge that we face not just in the last election in one State but in many states”? The person offering praise for the move was none other than Senator Durbin himself.
Democrat Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland also praised Senator Boxer at the time, saying he believed Boxer and Tubbs “performed a very valuable public service” by bringing the debate to Congress and that Americans should “all be troubled at the reports of voting problems in many parts of the country.”
Nevertheless, Van Hollen sharply criticized Hawley calling him “grossly irresponsible” and saying he was trying to “undermine our democratic process.”
What it amounts to in the long run on all accounts is poor sportsmanship. It’s too easy to cry foul when we lose the contest.
Like sports, politicians should accept defeat gracefully, shake hands and simply say “good game.” Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten it in politics and we’re not getting it in sports either.
Americans need to again learn to work hard to win and work harder when they lose.
Randy Gibson is the CEO of RDG Communications Group, LLC, and the former director of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and the Texas State Rifle Association.