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Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022

Deserving of Respect, Even When We Disagree


Candidates fight for opportunity to seek change

By the time you are reading this, the 2022 campaign season will have come to a close, Shreveport now knows the name of their new mayor, and the make-up of the city council and Caddo Parish School Board will have been decided.

But for just a moment, let’s pause and take this opportunity to thank all of the candidates. Most every one of them deserve our respect, not necessarily because we all agree, politically, but because they understand the principle, as many of us do, that life is a fight for territory, and that once we stop fighting for what we want, what we don’t want will automatically take over. And that’s what these candidates did for months on end, leading up to election day — and they fought for what they wanted, instead of just wringing their hands; they sought to be the change they so very much wanted to see.

Of course, the Book of James tells us that “a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” And while many worry about the erosion of our religious liberty, the decline of our education system, the deterioration of the family, and the fiscal irresponsibility of our elected officials, they often don’t go any further than worrying (or complaining). Candidates go further – much further – and this is why I believe candidates deserve our respect, even when we greatly disagree.

From neighborhood association meetings to church groups, from walking miles upon miles down city streets and country roads, knocking on doors and putting up signs – most all of the candidates embody the old-fashioned, pioneer-like grit and determination that is the American way. The candidates are the “man in the arena,” as Theodore Roosevelt put it, and the credit belongs to him or her:

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena … who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

And remember, as Thomas Jefferson’s said, “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” While Jefferson was referring to the electorate, I believe it applies equally to candidates, as well. Every candidate has certainly done their part to “participate” in the elections process and sacrificed much to do so.

No, losing is no fun (of course) and being criticized for losing, or ridiculed for one’s opinions, isn’t either. There is no shame or dishonor in losing an election – so long as the campaign was run with honor and integrity.

There have been – and will be – lots of “I told you so” opinions, which will point out this reason or that reason; this issue or that issue, that made all the difference in one race or another this election cycle. And there will be plenty of time for looking in the rear-view mirror.

But for now, whatever our politics, and however elated or disappointed we may feel about the election results from last Saturday, we are grateful to those candidates who, at least, gave us a choice, and to those thousands of souls who, as Abraham Lincoln put it, gave the “last full measure of devotion” so that we might have a choice – the right to vote – in the first place.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.


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