Fri | Jun 23, 2017

Devon Dick | Losing graciously in politics and sports

Published:Thursday | April 20, 2017 | 4:00 AM

Richard Nixon conceded the 1960 USA presidential election to John F. Kennedy in spite of election fraud evidenced in a situation where the Democratic Party gained more votes than there were electors in a Chicago area. This information was contained in an article in last Tuesday's British Daily Mail. Furthermore, it said that there was an agreement between the Democrats and the mob. Nixon said that he conceded because he did not want a constitutional crisis.

This report makes Donald Trump's allegation of potential election fraud in the USA 2016 elections plausible. In addition, there appeared to be fraud in the George Bush vs Al Gore race with hanging chads. The USA presidential election is not beyond fraud and perhaps Jamaican elections are fairer than USA elections. Additionally, USA elections are not beyond associating with unsavoury characters and acts of violence.

Furthermore, Nixon is often defined by the Watergate scandal of election malpractice and not how he conceded graciously the 1960 elections. However, Nixon's hardly heard-of virtue should be emulated in our politics and sports. And as we write the last chapter in the political career of our first female prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller, there will be a footnote that she did not concede elections readily. She will be remembered for outstanding leadership as minister of labour and social security; for industrial calm and improvement in the conditions for farm workers and the growth in the NIS fund. People will remember her for her role as minister of local government and minister of tourism and finally as prime minister, how she restored Jamaica's international image, with three heads of government from USA, UK and Japan visiting in 2016 and bringing stability and possibility for growth to the Jamaican economy. However, her blot is not conceding the 2016 election quickly and graciously, and if memory serves correctly, the same happened in the 2007 general election.

 

SEEPING INTO SPORTS

 

Unfortunately, this trait of not conceding graciously is creeping into our sports. There was a prominent high school which made an appeal even after the results were known that Calabar defended the boys' athletics championship for a fifth straight time. All appeals should end on the last day of the championships and the ruling respected. High schools should respect ISSA ruling when it seemingly goes their way and when it seemingly goes against them. Persons on the outside can query and protest but insiders should use the available channels to effect change.

There was also a prominent high school which threatened to take TVJ Schools' Challenge Quiz competition to court over the result of a match. Those threats should never happen again. It is an amateur event. Judges will make mistakes. I remember that a student gave the answer as 'Alexander Bustamante' and the quiz master said it was wrong because the student did not add 'Sir'. Unless the question asked for the name and title, the answer given should not have been deemed wrong. Bustamante was not named 'Sir'. It would be good if the Schools' Challenge competition was more fun like a GSN-type Family Feud and having questions which are less esoteric. In addition, the seniors could learn from the junior quiz competition about gracious behaviour.

School events are for character building such as developing teamwork and developing chemistry among the different persons; giving of one's best and winning humbly and losing graciously. In addition, it is to develop camaraderie having fellowship with even one's competitors, developing friendships and having fun. Usain Bolt is the epitome of having fun in competition and has been successful.

It seems that some old boys are leading the schools down a dangerous path. There needs to be a gentler, kinder society; less aggression, less tribalism. Learning to lose graciously is a good start.

- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.