Rob Ellsworth, a Georgetown University graduate and former congressional staffer who co-founded the Majority Group, a bipartisan lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., posted the following amazing essay in Facebook shortly after the November 6 elections:
I'm seeing Americans post photos of our Flag hung upside down because the President won reelection. They're defending this action as a "Naval sign of distress". Let me tell you something: you are not on a battleship, you are a manager at McDonalds in Follansbee, WV, and you are in fact, a lunatic.
I've avoided "spiking the football" over a great night for the President and for common sense in the Senate - Richard Murdock and Todd Akin deserved more than a loss. But I've held off, because I respect, am friends with, and on certain issues agree with, many patriotic Republicans who work hard to make this country a better place and simply disagreed with who should be Commander in Chief. That's fair and healthy.
And, I also didn't spike the football because I've lost elections before and I know how terrible it feels.
It's called maturity and not enough people in either party have it.
The following jaw punch is not directed at common sense Republicans, nor does it condone radicals on the Left. It is directed at the right wing fanatics who put party before country, conspiracy before reality, and ideology before science and intellect.
To Tea Party Patriots and hardcore Religious Engineers:
There's nothing wrong with wanting limited government. I do. There's nothing wrong with believing in God, the Golden Rule, or wanting to reduce abortions. I do, too. But you've taken it too damn far and scare the shit out of people you could otherwise persuade.
Yes, the message and messenger matter (you're failing at both, BTW), but no Madison Avenue P.R. firm, K Street lobbying firm, Fox News "analyst", or local chapter of "Freedom Works" can sell the flaming dung you're slinging.
Smart people can lose. But smart people always learn.
You didn't lose because you "weren't conservative enough" or because the country has become full of lazy "takers" who don't want to earn a living or just want America to "turn in to Europe".
You didn't lose because of Hurricane Sandy or because Chris Christie hugged the President on TV - they were both doing their jobs.
You didn't lose because of a liberal media, liberal college campuses, liberal polls that were "weighted to Democrats" (mostly because they were accurate), or because of "election fraud"... actually, that probably benefited you this time.
It's not that you didn't get your message out, it's that we all actually heard it and threw up a little in our mouths.
There isn't a mandate for Democrats in this election. Liberalism wasn't rewarded in this election. However, calm pragmatism, compassion, working together, compromise and sincerity were rewarded. People may not have agreed with President Obama, but more felt he was sincere and that he understood their daily problems, fears, and dreams. If you don't trust what the polls say, take a look at who is sworn in on January 20th. I thought you'd at least believe in Math when it came to counting to 270.
Sincerity is the only thing in politics you can't fake. You can't teach it. No matter how shiny a candidate's bio is, how smooth he is, or how perfect the gray hairs rest on his temples --- any average Joe on the street can spot a bullshitter.
Mitt is a generous and good man, but he didn't know who he was or "needed" to be at any given time in that campaign. That's largely his fault for lacking core convictions or personal toughness (Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush possessed both traits - that's why they won).
But you, the right wing base of the party, who drove so many of us moderate republicans out the door years ago, were the main catalyst. Your inability to reason, compromise, or let new facts and evidence challenge your predetermined outcomes led millions of moderates to no longer be able to stand on stage with you.
Frankly, you're embarrassing - more so than a crazy family member at dinner, or having your mom drop you off at a high school dance.
You say stupid shit and look stupid saying it.
You preach limited government in the economy when Democrats are in charge and then look the other way when you're in charge.
You want a government small enough to stay out of corporations and banks but big enough for bedrooms and hospital respirators (see Schiavo, Terri).
There's a hatred inside of you that burns in a way that scares normal people.
You made unlikely allies in large corporations who are more interested in tax breaks and loopholes even if the government has to cut your Medicare and Social Security or cut education to a point where states and local governments have no financial choice but to educate your children in portable trailer classrooms with 35 other students.
Would these corporations do this just to help pad their quarterly earnings reports with certain tax and regulatory policies? You bet your sweet ass they do. And you better believe they're happy to have you make the "freedom" argument as "concerned citizen patriots" on their behalf.
Yet, after those corporations spent billions on TV adds and herded you like sheep over the last half decade to discredit Barack Obama for everything from being a "Godless communist" --- to his "being born in Kenya and hatching a secret plot to take down America" --- to Obamacare's "death panels and job killing regulations" -
YOU still lost.
YOU still lost.
After attacking gay people who want equal protection under the law (BTW, I'm referring to the 14th amendment to the constitution, I know you forget most of the amendments after the 2nd one) -
YOU still lost.
After attacking the Hispanic community who's tired of being spoken "at" like criminals, attacking low income women who rely on Planned Parenthood for services of which 98% have nothing to do with abortion, and attacking relatively trivial things like PBS that children and adults enjoy as "1" damn television channel that doesn't include Honey Boo Boo or a "Fox News Breaking Alert" announcing Obama's latest "Czar" appointment -
YOU still lost.
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YOU still lost.
You can read me the constitution, but you clearly don't have a practical understanding of what you've read, heard on television, or forwarded to your entire email list of like minded xenophobes.
This country is great because our founders were smart enough to limit the government's power and give the people enough freedom and authority to correct their own mistakes in pursuit of a "more perfect union" (it's in the first damn line of the Preamble, in case you can't find it in your Tea Party Constitution Cliffs Notes).
Our founders were utterly brilliant and sophisticated. I don't like to speak for them, but I doubt they would have been friends with Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin. Nah, they wouldn't have made the guest list at Mt. Vernon or Monticello.
But let's be clear, our founders weren't perfect. They owned slaves. Only White male property owners had a say in things. Women, blacks, Native Americans, and other constituencies had to wait for an American dream and in many cases, are still waiting and working for it. Speaking of work, children were working 12-16 hour days with zero safety protections in statute. Zero.
The constitution, subsequent amendments and Supreme Court rulings and opinions since 1800 aren't perfectly clear (those who think they are tend to have had a healthy serving of Kool-Aid and have never watched oral arguments at the Supreme Court).
Their imperfection is what led to a Civil War to prove that human and civil rights aren't a "states' rights issue" - they're endowed by our creator, not by legislatures in Mississippi or Alabama, and they're protected equally in our constitution, but also in our democratically passed laws.
I run from the Capitol steps to the Lincoln Memorial most mornings that I'm in Washington. I may not be fast or smart, but I can read what's carved in stone.
Please. I welcome a challenge to what I've said. If you think because I voted for President Obama that I'm a socialist or that I don't want a better America, I'm happy to take time from running a business I've co-founded and time from money I'm trying to raise for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to pause and give you a fresh one. At no charge.
But I do ask this: be a real Patriot. Look at that flag you've hung upside down. Look at what you've done to it and what that means. Thousands of our bravest men and women, braver than me, just lost limbs and in many cases their lives so that Iraqis and Afghanis could vote however they see fit. I did that on Tuesday and so did you. That's what that flag stands for - equal access to a process, not a guarantee for any of our desired outcomes.
A country that defeated Hitler, Mussolini, and bin Laden won't crumble because the guy you wanted to be President got beat.
You lost. Now learn from it.
A Proud American
Reprinted with permission. All photos courtesy Rob Ellsworth.