The Winning in Losing

 Beto O’Rourke in front of signs for his Senate campaign against Ted Cruz that ended in a loss last Tuesday ( Image )

Beto O’Rourke in front of signs for his Senate campaign against Ted Cruz that ended in a loss last Tuesday (Image)

 

51 to 48.

Have you ever wanted something to work out so badly that you felt like you might literally burst if it didn’t come to fruition?

When we were kids it was a new toy for Christmas or a trip to the candy store. As big kids, the expectations for what we want get bigger and bigger, which leaves greater room for disappointment. A job promotion, a walk-in closet, a nicer apartment, a raise, a skin cream that actually removes wrinkles, food that tastes like fried chicken but has the calories of one spinach leaf, and the absence of political gridlock, for example.

We get picky as we get older, but then we have the audacity to grow angry when life doesn’t happen the way we think it should.

51 to 48.

Fuming, I thought I was perfectly justified to feel the way I felt last Tuesday evening. In Trump’s America, I had all fingers crossed as I prayed to the good Lord above for some common sense in this country. Not a sweeping blue wave because Republicans are wrong and Democrats are right, but some human beings in offices, state and federal, who recognize that this is not normal. The political process we are currently living in, and the headlines that ensue from Donald Trump’s shocking rhetoric, are not normal.

Elected officials need one simple quality before they can have my support — a good head on their shoulders. Everything else that follows is just extra.

Beto O’Rourke did that for me.

He exemplifies common sense fused with a recognition that America’s president is far from presidential and that his words and actions do not represent the values this country was built on.

Check! But wait, there’s more…

Beto passed this initial threshold for a qualified candidate, but the kicker? He was also an anti-gun, pro-choice, socially liberal Texan who was neck and neck with Ted Cruz until the end. In Texas!

Beto’s loss on Tuesday was a win for his state and for the country. His future as a leader and advocate is bright, and another Senate race or even a presidential contest could be on his horizon.

However, Beto’s loss proved to the world that Texas cannot be stereotyped as the standalone, homogenous state that it has been depicted as for so long. He activated a voting group in his state, many of whom had never voted before, to promote issues that mattered to the state but have often been swept under the rug because of Texas’ conservative history.

Faced with thought-provoking discussions on issues like immigration reform, women’s health, gun safety, and disability rights, the country saw a Texas that was different from anything they’d seen before.

Beto O’Rourke did that.

He shed a light on real issues that Texans care about — issues that haven’t been treated with the time and attention they deserve in past elections. Although his campaign did not produce a win on the ballot, it was a victory for Texans nonetheless.

I thought I was justified in my disappointment on Tuesday until I remembered something: there is a victory in losing. It grants us the chance to learn, reflect, and begin again, sometimes with something far better and far greater than we could’ve ever imagined.

Beto will be just fine.