Amazing grace by Mitt Romney

Like every election there have to be winners and losers. The US presidential poll was no different and in what was expected to be a close fight, Barack Obama was re-elected for his second term defeating Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee in a convincing manner. Obama is a man known for his ability to capture the imagination of one and all with his powerful speeches. Though he was not as articulate as he was in the 2008 elections when he had defeated John McCain, he all the same came out as the winner in the end.

But what was most noteworthy was the manner and the dignity with which Mitt Romney accepted his defeat. He showed amazing grace and complimented his adversary for the magnificent victory and also pledged his and his team’s full support for Obama for the sake of their country. It was very evident that for Romney and McCain before him, their country comes first and the narrow politics later. It reminded me of John Kennedy’s famous words, which were repeated by our own Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru–“Do not ask what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country’’. This is the spirit, which has made a democracy like America so vibrant and so strong.

The Presidential elections in the US will hopefully have lessons for our own politicians who find it very difficult to face defeat and continue to behave like bad and nasty losers. There is no doubt that even in our democracy, the transition of power from one regime to the other has never been difficult but it is a fact that the losers continue to hold a grudge against those who had defeated him.

For instance BJP stalwart LK Advani could never come to terms with his party losing power to the Congress both in 2004 and 2009.

His criticism of the government and its leader Manmohan Singh often became personal rather than political. His party colleagues called the Indian Prime Minister all kinds of names from being a “Nikamma’’ (useless) to “Kamzor’’ (weak). The attempt was to dent his image somehow or the other without caring that this could also harm the country. It is another thing that the government and the party in power have done enough damage to themselves and in people’s perception they are not seen in a positive light any longer.

Scoring political brownie points is part of politics but being a bad loser is something against the very spirit of democracy. While for Romney and Obama, the country comes first, but for many of our politicians it is their personal ambitions, which matter more.

During the US polls, I secretly hoped that Obama would win and am very happy that he did but after hearing Romney today, I think that the man who lost out could also have been a great President. His dignity and grace put him apart from many other politicians. Good luck to him.

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