B.H. Pitt / Essay

ESSAY: Losing the Presidency

By Benjamin Pitt

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you know that Barack Obama was re-elected as the President of the United States of America. And, especially if you live here in the States, chances are you saw Romney’s concession speech as well, which was delivered just after midnight the night of the election.

Admittedly, I did not watch Romney’s speech live, I watched it in class the next day. However, when I did see it, I was severely unimpressed. This is ignoring rumors that he didn’t even have a concession speech written until after he had already lost the election. Because it wasn’t the speech itself that I had a problem with. It was the delivery.

I find myself thinking back to 2008. To the night of Obama’s first election victory. And to John McCain’s concession speech.

 Now, let’s be clear, I didn’t vote in either election, nor wouldI have voted for McCain or Romney. However, I do believe it takes a good man to lose well. And I also think, being fully aware of the irony, that McCain’s concession speech in 2008 might have won him my vote.

When I rewatch McCain’s speech I see a man crushed by defeat; devastated. Broken. With every right to be so. Remember, he was campaigning for the Republican vote after eight years of George W. Bush’s supreme reign of idiocy. The economy was headed down the toilet. He had to campaign with Sarah Palin. And, if all of that wasn’t enough, he had literally just lost the election; the only thing that could’ve made all of that pain worth it. But McCain pulled it off like a champ. He spends the bulk of his ten minute speech discussing “the special significance [this election had] for African-Americans and… the special pride that must [have been] theirs [that night].” He hearkens back to Teddy Roosevelt inviting Booker T. Washington to the White House and when he says “Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country” I believe his sincerity. When he stops the crowd from booing at Obama’s victory, you can tell he’s not just doing that for the cameras and the viewing audience at home.

 Compare that to Romney’s speech, which clocked in at a little over five minutes. Here’s a man that doesn’t just look devastated; he looks shocked. He’s not just upset; he’s furious. Most of the speech is recited through semi-clenched teeth with the faintest of smiles plastered on top. I believe the word “livid” would not be out of place here. Where McCain was defeated with honor and respect, Romney lost with the grace of a three year old getting cheated out of a Happy Meal toy by his big brother. Even when he tries to be congratulatory toward Obama, he comes out with lines like “ I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation” along with; “ Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for [Obama] and for this great nation.” Note that he’s not really saying “I think he’s going to do a good job and my prayers are with him.” He’s really saying “Guys, Obama’s president again! We better get praying! We’ll need all the help we can get!”
Benjamin Pitt enjoys writing when not saving the city from evil-doers as a masked crime fighter. If you require his services, he can be reached at benpitt7@gmail.com.

 

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