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Thursday, June 17, 2010

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOSING AN ELECTION

I ran for the Senate and lost. It was a painful, heartbreaking experience. But it taught me a lot of things. Particularly about how you can lose and still strive to be a gentleman. What is a gentleman? Well, being a gentleman is not about breeding (haven’t we all seen too many well-bred jerks), wealth (some of my most financially-challenged friends are the epitomes of gentlemanliness), or manners (although real gentlemen should have good manners). Essentially, being a gentleman is doing what is right. So a gentleman acts with honesty, integrity, and graciousness. This means defining and being a gentleman is both difficult and simple at the same time. And although we all falter sometimes, being one is an aspiration that we all should struggle towards. For an aspiring gentleman like myself, this is how a gentleman loses an election –
1. A gentleman does not make excuses for his loss. Please don’t become a clichĂ©. “No, I didn’t lose, I was cheated!” Only FPJ - and if your last name is Pimentel - had the right to say that. Almost all other politicians who have used this line were simply not gracious enough to accept their defeat with dignity. Sure, learn your lessons from your failure and understand why you didn’t make it. But don’t blame it on cheating, lack of money, or the immature electorate. Not only is giving excuses not the classy thing to do, it is, more importantly, mentally dishonest because you knew the dangers of running for public office from the very beginning.

2. A gentleman says thank you. Yes you lost but remember that a lot of people helped you during the campaign. Thank them. Especially your supporters who may even feel the loss worse than you do. Gratitude during the worst of times is a badge of great character and will remind the people who have helped you that they weren’t wrong in giving you their support.

3. A gentleman is not afraid to cry. Losing sucks. No amount of rationalization will change the painful fact that despite your effort, good intentions, and sacrifice, the voters still did not choose you. What’s important – whether you shed actual tears or not – is that you fully accept your loss, mourn it properly, gain some wisdom, and then move forward. Hopefully, onto better things.

4. A gentleman will support the winners. You may feel that you are brighter, more honest, and better qualified than the victor and it may be even true. However, the fact is that he was chosen by the voters and you weren’t. Since he was given the mandate to govern, as a good citizen, you must cooperate with our elected leaders to help our country succeed. A sense of statesmanship dictates setting aside your personal feelings towards your political opponents for the greater good. Of course, the alternative is to work to undermine the next administration. That is the way of the “trapo” or traditional/transactional politician who views politics not as public service but simply as a power game. Let us make one thing clear: Gentlemen are not trapos and trapos – no matter how rich, well-bred, connected, or educated – will never be gentlemen. On a personal level, while I didn’t vote for the President-elect, at the end of the day, he is as much my president as he is for those who voted and campaigned for him. So if I can do something in my own capacity to help his administration succeed, then I shouldn’t hesitate to do it.

5. A gentleman keeps his promises. Candidates will promise the moon and stars to the voters. After the elections, they get a chronic case of selective amnesia. A promise is a promise and just because you lost doesn’t mean that your advocacies or the help that you promised your potential constituents doesn’t count anymore. Keep your pledges and, whether or not you do decide to run again, people will appreciate you as a man of his word.

6. A gentleman, if he stumbles, gets back on his feet quickly. Finally, don’t let your electoral loss be your excuse to become an alcoholic, neglect your business or your profession, or abandon your family. Your losing an election does not mean that you are, therefore, a loser forever; so don’t act like one. The world does not stop turning because of your personal defeats. Pick yourself up and move forward. Remember, even the most hyper-competitive and successful athlete of all time, Michael Jordan, had to wait seven long years in the NBA before he finally got his NBA Championship. He didn’t let his years of failure destroy him. Instead, he used them as motivation and fuel to become perhaps the best to ever play the game of basketball. That, in fact, is the best lesson there is for anyone going through some life-failure: that losing may even be the best thing for you, if you use it to your advantage to grow, learn, and act with graciousness and integrity. And you know what they eventually call people who genuinely learn from their failures and mistakes: winners.

5 comments:

  1. Atty Adel,

    I'm part of PLM's batch 2010. We've seen and experienced how you are as a President and as a gentleman. You really are a good person who cares not for the position and the privileges, but for the people who are/will be under your authority. You would have been a great contributor to the country had you won in the elections, but I think you can do greater things even as just plain "Citizen Adel."

    More power. :)

    Dani Austria
    Mass Comm, 2010

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  2. Hi Atty. adel!

    Well, you said it there and you hit the nail right on the head.

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  3. Hi JP -

    Sometimes I think politicians are the ones who should be hit on the head!

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  4. Hi Dani-

    Your picture looks familiar. I hope I was able to meet you in PLM. Thank you for your kind words. I wish you, and all PLMayers, all the success in life.

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  5. I wouldn't really use the word "aspiring" if i were you. :P People who actually know just a little about you discern your gentleman-ness as authentic and your primary trademark/signature during the election period. Sucks that intelligent votes didn't prevail much.

    BTW, i spent a year in PLM (first year). I transferred into another school since i had a scholastic quandary and the (little) reconsideration i have applied for fell through. Not just that, It took all of the concerned offices more than 3 weeks to process the "recon" (and for all the waiting, effort and time, i got a no as an answer). Like you, i accepted the decision like a gentleman. I barely had time to accomplish the requirements in my new school. Everything about PLM sucked all of sudden when you stepped down. One more thing. According to the conversations i heard during the many times we fell in line for the Office of the President, they like you better..or shall i say best? :D It appears that "Gay Blaster" (you know who) can't manage PLM well enough or as excellent as you had.

    But then again, it sucks you have to wait for a year to be politically-eligible again (or whatever it is called)

    I can't let my friends and, generally, the PLMayers suffer much further. I hope you get your position back. I really do.

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