Cheat, and you’re gonna live with it

Back in the day, when I was a handsomer lad (whatever), I remember getting ready for a debate (high school setting; senior class; political subject).

I prepared for it wholly. I spent days reading and doing research (way before “Google” came along).

Long story short, I lost that debate.

I was heartbroken because I was ready. Because I had put so much effort into it.

Fast-forward to September 2020: I am still proud of my high school debate performance. Shortly after the debate itself, I had the realization that it wasn’t about winning, but about being willing to do the hard work to prepare. I had done a good job and I had done my best.

But what if I had cheated back then? What if, instead of staying up late and working tirelessly to prepare myself, I’d chosen to cut corners, gotten unfair help, or spied on my opponent? And what if, by cheating, I had won the debate?

I would have soaked in the “win” for awhile, accepting the praise and congratulations. 

But then what? Knowing that I cheated, would I be as proud of my performance today? Would my debate experience resonate today as it has been for so long because I did not cheat but worked hard at it?

Of course, this is about me as much as it is about the president of the United States. Instead of a fair competition in which the president is as rehearsed as his opponent, instead of working hard on his reelection while being fair and honest, the president has been cheating. Not only that, but he had already hinted that if he loses, he won’t accept defeat.

Maybe, for awhile, winning by cheating will gain him adulation by staunch supporters. But then what?

I know that many of my friends would say, “But he doesn’t care; he’s heartless.” Or, “He has cheated all his life so why would he grow a conscience now?” Yet, I think somewhere inside this man’s gooey pile of narcissism and lack of empathy, and in his raw, unhinged mental state, there’s an ounce of conscience. You don’t believe me? Read ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’

“Maybe Christmas (he thought) doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”