An uninformed colored person stopped me last week and said, “You supported losing candidates in the last two elections.” My response to him was, “Do you have a few minutes, because you are totally confused about my involvement in politics.”
I attempted to explain so he could understand that in my estimation your candidate can be a winner even if the other candidate has more votes. He left somewhat confused and I recognized once again, ignorance prevailed.
In the 1950s I supported a Black candidate against a White politician who had the reputation of being the best vote getter in Allegheny County and colored folks laughed at me, but I supported him on principle. The White candidate received the majority of votes, but I considered myself a winner.
There would be a number of identical campaigns before Black candidates would win, but we always stayed the course and viewed ourselves as winners.
Attorney Byrd R. Brown ran against Congressman William Moorehead and I along with others supported Byrd in a tremendous uphill fight. We lost numerically, but we still won.
Algia Gary, a Black candidate had the endorsement for the congressional seat and was the first and only to ever get an endorsement and I supported him. Once again we lost numerically, and once again I won. Over the years I have supported a number of candidates who lost numerically, but I was a winner.
Jesse Jackson ran for president twice and in both campaigns I was a supporter. He lost both times in 1984 and 1988, but I was a winner.
In the mayor’s race in 2005 four White men and one Black ran for mayor. I was the Black candidate. People would say, “Why would you run? You had to realize you could not win.” I ran because the Black population was almost 30 percent in Pittsburgh, and with that population it would have been a disgrace if no Black person ran.
I see myself as a winner, because once again I ran on principle and for our children’s future, yours and mine. A large number of voters brag about how they voted for the winner and nothing changes in their lives or neighborhoods so they still lost. So maybe it’s time for a number of folks to redefine winning and losing.
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(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum page.)