These Words from Four Years Ago Seem Just as Relevant Today

A few days ago I wrote a post in which I mentioned that this semester I will be teaching in the same room where I had the chance to meet Michael Bloomberg, about four years ago.

Shortly afterward, I went back and read the post I had written about my meeting with Bloomberg. Bloomberg was our commencement speaker that year at Villanova, and I thought he did a terrific job.

One particular part of his speech really hit home, given what we have experienced for the past couple of months:

“It (patriotism) means having the courage to re-examine our beliefs when data and science contradict them. It means having the courage to stand up to members of your own party when you believe they are wrong – or when their actions put our great American experiment at risk.”

“And it means having the courage to accept the results of an election – even when, and especially when, you deplore the results. Since last November, one of the popular protest slogans has been: ‘Not my president.’ I understand the reasons to protest this president, and I said my piece last summer. So don’t get me wrong: protest is an essential part of patriotism, and I’d encourage all of you to speak up, call your legislators, and get involved in public issues. But at the same time, the fate of our American experiment rests upon the principle that the losing side accepts the legitimacy of the winning side – and works in cooperation with it for the good of the country, rather than fomenting a revolution.”

So I guess as the saying goes, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

And it seems like we did not learn anything from four years ago…

Let’s hope there won’t be another repeat…

24 thoughts on “These Words from Four Years Ago Seem Just as Relevant Today

  1. My history teacher used to use the saying about repeating history. I think there is truth to that. No matter what, one side will always lose and that side needs to accept and move on graciously. It won’t always be the same side and that is how voting works. The best that which ever side loses should do, is support the winning side and help make this country better. If they don’t agree, they can always vote again in 4 years, but in the mean time accept the now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems to me what many politicians and activists haven’t learned is how to disagree with each other without demonizing each other. As they jockey for points on best insults against the other side, the back-and-forth rhetoric becomes more and more frenzied and paranoid, and leads to the kind of shit we saw on Jan 6th. Respectfully disagreeing seems to be a lost art, and I believe our nation would benefit greatly if we rediscovered it.

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  3. I sure hope this is a one-off in terms of questioning the validity of the election. If every election from here on, the other side cries foul, we will have more of these ugly incidents. Understandably, there will be disagreement on some issues, but not everything should be so political. It seems like we should be able to have differences of opinion without all of the name-calling and labeling. There are certain things we all want: decent jobs, a good education, health care, a place to live, and someone to love. It shouldn’t be this hard.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I never questioned Trump’s victory in 2016 even though he lost the popular vote. Even though he was elected, I was afraid that his deeply flawed character and thinly veiled racism would never allow him to be a president. Trump proved that he was never anyone’s president even though he held the office.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is the part of the equation that doesn’t make sense to me. Trump never polled more than 50% anywhere leading up to the election. Biden had more than seven million votes in the popular vote. The Electoral College numbers were identical (306-232) except that Trump won by that same margin in 2016. What am I missing? Perhaps it is as simple as Trump not being able to admit he lost.

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  5. Its interesting to note that protests over election result outcomes seem to have become a regular thing over the last decade – not just in American politics but the UK.

    I wonder what has changed to make a particular group not accept the outcome?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know how they do elections in the UK, but here in the USA, many states have introduced absentee balloting, and early voting. Some argue that it’s an insecure way to vote, allowing people to vote more than once. This sense of election insecurity opens the door for these protests.

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      1. There is a similar system in the UK, it worth noting my wife and I received letters encouraging us to sign up for postal votes around the same time the postal fraud claims were at their peak.

        I know from past election voting this way has been open to corruption – people who are severely ill voting, abusive relationships stealing their partner’s vote etc.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. So there’s some basis to the allegations. Just the same, I’ve always voted by mail. I just hope there are safeguards in place that prevent fraudulent counterfeit ballots from being mass-mailed in.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Do you mean the referendum on leaving the EU? Whilst many of us disagreed with the choice made by the electorate, I don’t recall any challenges to the validity of the actual vote. The closest we ever get to that is recounts on close constituency votes in general elections, and those are usually decided in a day or so, at most, without further challenge. I prefer our system to the mess that the US has in place.

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      1. To be honest, I was referring to the general election rather than votes on policy. The last decade or so has seen some sort of protest about the result, though admittedly not quite at the level of the US.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Mr. Bloomberg’s comments seem a bit clairvoyant now. This past election has been everything I hate about politics, except the part where more Americans voted than ever. All I am asking for now is a small break from the bullshit. Just a pause to gather my mind and strength again. I am desperate for the news to be about anything but our politics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 100% sick of it all and wanting to return to a kinder and gentler America where people respect differences of opinion. This applies to both liberals and conservatives.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. As I’ve just said in response to another commenter, I think the US election system is in dire need of reworking, in the hope that if it isn’t so open to challenges based on zero data or relation to reality it might not get them! That said, the divides caused by Trump and his enablers will take much to repair. Bloomberg was right, but it needs a big shift in political will to make it happen.

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