Just how much hurt accompanies a loss at whatever enterprise in which one has invested one’s heart and soul? I remember what that meant in my young days when we lost at a football game after our team had sweated blood and coughed up their very guts.
At the end of a gruelling campaign, Donald Trump lost to ‘Sleepy Joe,’ the worst ever thing that could happen to the man of the ‘Art of the Deal’, losing to the ‘‘worst man ever to run for president.’’
His response was to believe in his own lies about the election being stolen from him even as he was winning! And he went sulking and showing extraordinary nonchalance as Covid-19 culled more Americans.
It is always useful to remind the defeated party that the glory is in the competition, and that the fact that the best team won should give us comfort; but what if it is not the best team that won and it is clear that subterfuge was in play? Trump could have a point there, only no one outside his famed base is willing to believe him.
When she lost to Trump four years ago, Hillary Clinton quickly threw in the towel, although the numbers showed she was way ahead in the popular vote. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, she seemed to have understood the game she had chosen to play: the electoral college is what counts, and she understood that very well, having worked in her country’s legal jungle for some time.
We go into competitions, and commit ourselves to the hilt, because it makes us feel good, to make us believe that though we may not be the best on paper, yet in this particular endeavour we have been better than all comers.
We are proud that once we have stepped out and given our very best in the face of stiff competition, and we have emerged tops in the endeavour. This is no mean achievement when you value and recognise the valour of your rivals, and that the latter value and recognise your valour right back.
I am in doubt that the contest in Tanzania in the last election on October 28 produced two worthy gladiators in the persons of the incumbent John Pombe Magufuli, president, and Tundu Lissu, fearless challenger and veritable thorn in-the-flesh of someone who had all but prohibited anyone from saying he was questionable in anything.
In effect, what Magufuli had to endure in the two months during which Lissu was pillorying him for what he, Magufuli, had done for five years, was much worse than it would have been if he had allowed people to come out regularly to declare that the emperor is naked.
It is ironically the interdiction of politics by Magufuli that allowed the big man to travel for five years in some kind of wonderland in which what he said was law, that made him suddenly realise that a little man like Lissu could rise, literally from the dead, and say to him, ‘The emperor is clothed in nothing!’
And we know — at least those who want to know will know — that the people listened, and it is not as if what they heard they will soon unhear.
Unlike Trump, Lissu did not lose in any transparent battle where the referees were on the sidelines — and there is no room for argument here — nor could he have had the ballots recounted such as was done in Philadelphia. In our neck of the woods once the emperor is declared clothed his dress becomes a ‘robe pontifical’.
We have a unique system of thought, like in everything else, if you noticed. There is no way one challenges the results. We all saw what happened, or should have seen.
A lot of those clips that were taken during the campaigns will live on for ever, and wishing them away simply will not do the trick. This election was dissatisfactory, and campaigning against it is, of course, forbidden.
Instead of going to play golf, the loser here has gone into exile, not to sulk but to escape a second assassination attempt after the one he suffered three years ago.
I remember when Hillary Clinton lost to the ‘Art of the Deal’ the deal was taken to mean the Russians had meddled in the elections to do her in, though the investigations came to naught. But she said at the time that she had become part of the ‘resistance,’ something few of us, if any, quite understood.
The ‘resistance’ here must take the form of a campaign for a level playing field where the goals will have the same size on both ends of the pitch and the referee will at least not come onto the pitch wearing the colours of one of the teams in the match.
For some people this may be too much, because what we have is the best in the best of all possible worlds where we wear glasses because noses were made for glasses.
Ulimwengu is now on YouTube via jeneralionline tv. E-mail: [email protected]