Let me start by making this clear: just as I have never told anyone how I’ve voted, I am not going to talk politics here. But I do have something I believe is vital to say to each of us today (including myself).
I played soccer for eight years in high school and college. I usually played fullback and was a grass-in-the-teeth kind of player. I remember once being pulled from a game after my leg got mangled. I needed help to even get up and hobble off the field. More than the considerable pain, though, I felt anger. I shouted over and over at the coach, “Don’t you pull me from this game! I can play!”
I loved soccer. But, as contradictory as it may seem, I hated (and still do hate) competition. You see, in every competition, there are winners and losers. And that was always a conflict for me, being the highly empathetic sort.
After each game, it was more or less required that each team line up facing one another in single file and then walk by each member of the other team. Typically, you’d low-five, saying, “Good game, good game, good game…” in rapid succession. But most of the time, you knew neither team meant it. It’s what passed for “good sportsmanship” and was supposed to teach some lesson or other.
For me, on the other hand, it was never quite that easy.
If we lost, I took it personally. I should’ve done better. At the same time, I wanted to encourage every downtrodden member of my team, or help talk others down from their adrenaline-fueled rage. And yet, I also truly wanted to congratulate individual members of the other team who had played well and won.
If we won, we would jump up and down in a close-knit huddle cheering, or smack one another on the back harder than we knew was necessary. However, I also felt keenly aware of the losing team members and knew how dejected and disappointed they felt. So I’d pull myself from the next teammate’s growling embrace and head on over to specific players on the other team, telling them what I admired about their game or a particular play they’d made.
Last night, an important decision was made.
Upon learning the result of that decision, half of the people I love and care about began celebrating, filled with a sense of relief and hope for the future.
The other half of the people I love and care about were shocked, mourning, fearful — even visibly and uncontrollably shaking and weeping in panic.
Statistically, the above scenario more or less sums up our country today. About 50% are celebrating, and 50% are terrified.
Had the race gone the other way …