Listen, My Children...

Every Little Helps

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Schadenfreude, as usual


Back to the old topic of people rejoicing when bad things happen, because they can be used to make the other side look bad (from Best of the Web):
Well, then how about this cheery comment, posted Monday at Democrats.org, the Democratic National Committee's official Web site, again quoted verbatim: 'Morning all. It occured to me that all the bump that Bush got late last week from the economic figure went up in flames yesterday with that helicopter.' That would be the Chinook that was shot down in Baghdad Sunday, killing 15 soldiers. For the Angry Left, it seems, every dark cloud is a silver lining.

I understand this sentiment; I suppose we all do, to some extent. When the people you oppose do something bad, you feel vindicated; you think you're just celebrating that things are going well for your side, for the good guys, but in fact you're celebrating the things that any decent person would wish hadn't happened. Democrats should think that the Republicans have it wrong (or they should switch parties!), but they should be pleased when the economy goes up and grieved when helicopters get shot down. They can be pessimists ("eh, it'll go back down again") or detractors ("but where are the jobs?"), but they should not mourn a rise in the economy. They can point blame ("the helicopter wouldn't have gotten shot down if there weren't any helicopters there!"), but they should not rejoice.

We should all hope that things go well, even if those things are being run by people we disagree with and by methods we disagree with. We should not be like Jonah, told to prophesy a coming doom to an unrepentant Nineveh, who, when Nineveh repented, was angry that he would look silly because the prophesied doom would now not come.

No matter who wins the Houston runoff, for example, Owen and I should both hope that whichever man wins is honest, hardworking, truly has Houston's best interests at heart (rather than just thinking he does), and is good for the city. One of us will be disappointed; but we should not hope the victor lives up to our dire expectations just so that we can say, "I told you so!"

In all such things, may it go well for the people I predict it will go poorly for, may predicted calamities not strike no matter what damage it may do to the reputation of the predictor, and may the best man win no matter his party.

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