Grace in the Face (of Adversity)

Last night, like almost exactly half of the country, I watched with glee the election night coverage and Obama win with all the excitement of, well…there truly is nothing like it. It wasn’t like Christmas or a birthday, because it only comes once every 4 years. It’s something much different. It is on everyone’s minds, even if they don’t want it to be. And so, as I was sipping my champagne, celebrating at least 4 years of hope and change for our nation, I watched Senator McCain’s speech and was awed – and somewhat saddened for him – that his most eloquent and beautiful speech, was his concession. It inspired me to write this article about grace and being classy, no matter what environment you are in.

  • Style. Having style-in manner of dress and carriage- is important in everything you do, whether it’s  competing in a presidential election, or dealing with people at the market. Style is an all-encompassing word that should be on your mind whenever your in a public place. It’s about caring about yourself enough to be polite to others. You don’t have to go out of your way, helping old ladies across the street-but not brushing past them because you’re in a hurry is a start.

  • Choose your words carefully. Blathering on and on because you know something about a subject doesn’t show you’re smart or eloquent; it just means you have big lungs. Use your voice constructively to add to the conversation. If you can’t find something poignant to say, just listen. Using your voice sparingly will make others actually listen to you when you do speak.

  • Be aware. Know what and whom you’re speaking to and about. Being aware politically, culturally and religiously to the people around you not only make you a great conversationalist; it makes you a great person. You can avoid embarrassment, awkwardness and defensiveness if you’re well-read.

  • Apologies. I have stood by this proverb, and I always try to remember it when I argue with someone: “Eat crow while it’s still warm.” Make apologies or concede someone’s argument before it becomes a personal wound for everyone involved.

All these tips are a great pushing off point for dealing with people and thoughts that conflict with you. Starting fights in public is terribly un-chic, so think before you step in that pile.

McCain took a very gracious step in the right direction by saying, “I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.”

He was aware enough to know that he still had great love within his community, and he called on it not to be bitter or take it as a defeat for everyone, but to ask them to help him support Obama and America, because we are all united. That was Class.

What did you think about last night’s speeches?

john n barack

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