Monday, January 07, 2013

Negative opposition

Negative opposition
By The Post
Mon 07 Jan. 2013, 11:20 CAT

It seems the defeat in last year's elections has pushed MMD and UPND into confusion and ever nearer to limbo.

It also seems they are failing, in some way, to recognise the scale of their defeat and of their problems. They are behaving as if our politics and the elections that accompany it are a fight for survival. Our elections, after all, are simply a competition to serve and not a fight for survival.

There is no need to think that when we have lost an election, when we have suffered defeat, all is ended.

Not true. It's only a beginning, always. This is so because greatness comes not when things are always good for you, but greatness comes and you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.

We all experience failure, loss or defeat. In fact, successful people have more failure in their lives than average people do. Great people throughout history have all failed at some point. Those who do not expect anything are never disappointed; those who never try, never fail. Anyone who is currently achieving anything in life is simultaneously risking failure. It is always better to fail in doing something than to excel at doing nothing. It is said that a flawed diamond is more valuable than a perfect brick. People who have no failures also have few victories.

There is no need for our opposition political parties and their leaders to turn negative, destructive, obstructive and so on and so forth as if the world has come to an end. They can still be positive. And being positive is the only way they can recover from their electoral defeat.

To be in the opposition does not mean to be negative, to be frustrated, to be destructive or obstructive. Good and effective opposition politicians are positive. One doesn't achieve much by being negative and nihilistic in their approach.

People get knocked down; it is how fast they get up that counts. As we have seen, there is a positive correlation between spiritual maturity and how quickly a person responds to failures.

Individuals who are spiritually mature have a greater ability to get up and go on than people who are spiritually immature. The less developed the person, the longer he holds on to past failures. God never sees us as failures; He only sees us as learners. There is no need to be held back by failure. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.

To expect your life to be perfectly tailored to your expectations is to live a life of continual frustration. The failure-riddled life is much more richer, more interesting and more stimulating than the life that has never failed. What is the difference between the champion and the average person? It is said that the single most important difference between the champion achievers and average people is their ability to handle failure, defeat.

Failure, defeat is a situation, never a person. You can't travel the road to victory without failure, without a puncture or two. Failure is often the best teacher. Ecclesiastes advises, "In the day of prosperity, be joyful, but in the day of adversity, consider." Whenever you fall, pick something up. The man who invented the eraser had the human race pretty well figured out. You will find that people who never fail don't make much else. You can profit from your failure, your defeat.

Failure, defeat is not falling down but staying down. Be like Jonah, who, when swallowed by a large fish, proved that you can't keep a good man under water. Remember that a stumble is not a fall - in fact, a stumble may actually prevent a fall. It is said that he who has never failed somewhere, that man cannot be great.

Not remembered for his failures but for his successes, inventor Thomas Edison reflected, "People are not remembered by how few times they failed, but by how often they succeeded. Every wrong step can be another step forward."
Assert your right to fail, to be defeated.

If people can't accept your inadequacies, that's their fault. Look at what you have left and not what you have lost. If you learn from them, failure or defeat are invariable. It is necessary to cultivate this attitude among our politicians and those who lose elections will never be ashamed because it is an important part of our multi-party political system in which periodic, competitive, definitive and inclusive elections are a permanent feature.

We truly fail only when we do not learn from an experience. The decision is up to us. We can choose to turn a failure, a defeat into either a hitching post or a guidepost. Learn the lesson, build on it and get on with your life. Remember that the call to politics is higher than the defeat in an election.

There is no over-estimating how we respond to failure, to electoral defeats. Failure, defeat does not mean that nothing has been accomplished.

Our whole multi-party political dispensation would mean nothing if losing elections were seen as the end of everything for those who participate, for those who offer themselves for public office. There is always the opportunity to learn something from losing an election. The most natural thing to do when you lose an election is to get back up! Those who have lost elections can continue in opposition and participate positively in public life, with the knowledge that their role is essential in any multi-party democracy worth of the name.

The losers must cooperate with the winners in solving the common problems of the society. They have a legitimate and important role to play. Therefore, there is no need to despair, to be frustrated, to be negative and destructive. Without losing political parties continuing in opposition, our multi-party democracy will start to weaken and be reduced to a de facto one-party state.

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