When the Democrats were rejected at the polls in 2004, they and many of their supporters in the media declared that it was proof positive that the U.S. public was stupid, ignorant, and reckless. Many claimed that the election must have been rigged; others announced that the U.S. was a lost cause and that good people should consider moving to Canada. Some actually did.
The Republicans, who were resoundingly punished at the polls for everything from corruption to arrogance to incompetence, could not present a more dramatic contrast to their Democratic counterparts. They over-whelmingly placed responsibility for their losses squarely on their own mistakes and transgression, where it belongs. They congratulated their victorious opponents. They avoided making legal challenges or suggesting that any elections were “stolen.” Defeated Republican Senator George Allen, whose race was close enough to demand a recount, did not.
And no Republicans, as far as we know, have fled the country. They will be staying around to contribute to the process of democracy, because they respect both it and its results. In short, the Republicans have demonstrated the honorable and ethical was to lose.
The deportment of the losers in a democracy is every bit as important as the behavior of the winners. As the Democrats attempt to teach their rivals something about how to govern when you win, let’s hope that they learned from the GOP’s lesson in how to behave when you get throttled. Some recent Canadian immigrants might think about it as well.