OUR TITLE will give the internet search engines fits, but it accurately describes what we have to say in the aftermath of yesterday’s election. First, however, a personal story:
We had a good friend eight years ago. He and a few others, along with our lovely secretaries, often visited our humble home after work to chat, watch the news, and sip a few drinks while waiting for rush hour traffic to subside. But when Bush the younger won the presidency in 2000, our friend couldn’t accept it. He became embittered and actually stopped talking with us. He even began sending nasty emails. Finally we had to block everything from his domain.
We suggest that his reaction is not the way to behave in defeat. Rather, we look to Robert E. Lee as the finest possible example of how to handle setbacks. After the War, his country was defeated, his plantation (Arlington) was confiscated, and all was lost. It doesn’t get much worse than that. The current election, although perhaps not to your liking, doesn’t begin to compare to the adversities with which Lee was confronted.
Consider how Lee behaved. At the website of the Virginia Historical Society we read Robert E. Lee After the War, from which these few excerpts are copied:
Whatever happened, he had no desire to leave Virginia. “I cannot desert my native state in the hour of her adversity,” he remarked to a friend. “I must abide her fortune, and share her fate.”
When he accepted the presidency of financially troubled Washington College (now Washington and Lee), he wrote:
“It is the duty of every citizen, in the present condition of the Country, to do all in his power to aid in the restoration of peace and harmony.”
And in response to the bitterness of a Confederate widow, Lee wrote:
Dismiss from your mind all sectional feeling, and bring [your children] up to be Americans.
Lee was a far better man than we can hope to be, but we shall attempt to emulate his noble attitude.
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