Good News-Bad News
By Eddie Griffin
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
After the polls closed on yesterday, I went out to celebrate the watch of the returns with the jubilant Nicole Collier group. A small group of about 75 people were crammed into the restaurant, awaiting the lady of the hour. They were all bone tired exhausted, as they trickled in from the field, looking for food, refreshments, and victory. There were children present to witness this historic day.
I, too, was tired, exhausted to the brink from supporting and promoting other hopeful candidates in other races. But of this one watch party was a must attend for me, because the Collier candidacy looked like our best shot, for a diamond-in-the-rough underdog to take the lion’s share my home turf, District 95.
I listened to these courageous folks tell their stories about their work in the field, going door to door, pressing the flesh, and talking to voters. The joke around the room was about Nicole’s worn-out pink sneakers. I felt refreshed to be among earthly people who put their heart and soul into this campaign.
Entrance the lady of the hour, and after introductions, we were off and running, watching the results on multiple TV screens, cheering the tally, round by round.
Eddie Griffin was wired and connected to instant feeds and direct communications in the field. But watching the numbers come in was like watching paint dry.
GOOD NEWS – BAD NEWS
Nicole Collier was up and at holding at 48%. Our strategy was to attain a 50.1% majority, and avoid a runoff. GOOD NEWS, nevertheless, we are in the Runoffs, with a 10% lead.
BAD NEWS: Kyev Tatum and his group of prayer warriors, not only fell short of glory, but crashed in 10th place in his race for U.S. District 33. Here was another campaign that Eddie Griffin had poured heart and mind into. My protégé, who lovingly calls himself my “hardheaded” student, acted just as hardheaded student, ignoring the Stop Signs and failing to Slow Down while speeding through a Political Zone, with Eddie Griffin as a passenger.
Every mistake a man can make can be overcome, except the one that is fatal. A few days before the election, I described to Tatum a visualization of his fatal mistake in the race. His premature boasting got him shot down like a soldier sticking his head up out of the foxhole. Covertly some Democratic Party elite sabotaged his boasting by undoing his plan.
“They got me, Brother Eddie,” he lamented over the phone. “They knocked the wind out of me.” It took him by surprise like a man mortally wounded and he sounded like a man who had lost his self-confidence.
It was at that point that I saw a defeated man.
THE LAST MISTAKE- WORSE THAN THE FIRST
Eddie Griffin cannot fix a man’s pride and boastfulness. Humility is the best teacher, and Brother Tatum is now learning plenty of that with only 200 votes to show for his campaign effort. The good part, however, was that, for once, “the least, last, lost, and left out”, had a voice and a legitimate shot at a congressional seat at the table.
But after the public embarrassment of a refuted claim of support, Tatum called up his “prayer warriors” to come to the rescue and pray themselves to victory.
God is above politics, I wrote, and warned Tatum that by invoking the name of God and putting Him to the test, that he (Tatum) must prove the power of his prayers by winning the election or risk proving the false hope of his prayers.
The bible declares that God hears and answers the prayers of the righteous, but God disdains the prayers of those conceited in their faith. “Prayer warriors”, what are they? How can they approach the throne of grace except through humility and total submission to His Will?
No, prayer is not answered on the basis of man’s volition or fervency. Thus, Brother Tatum could not pray his way out of his mistakes and on to victory, no more than the “prayer warriors” in the time of the prophet Elijah.
It troubles Eddie Griffin to see people trying to get God to do their will, instead of God’s will. The race is given neither to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.
IN THE MEANTIME
I bypassed the Tatum Watch Party to go and be with a winner, Nicole Collier. Although I felt spent and would have preferred some much-needed sleep after the polls closed, I just didn’t want to spend the night alone, at home, watching the election results. And, I had a number of invitations to Watch Parties from various candidates that I supported. I wanted to be happy, and to be around cheerful people, and not to be depressed by the Tatum funeral Party.
When I first met Nicole Collier, I asked if she could “take a punch”. I had meant if she could take a knockdown in the political arena. She took the challenge at physical face value, balled up her fist, and declared that she will hit back. That’s when I knew that we had a winner who could champion our district.
But on this watch night she was on pins and needles as the numbers came in. The old jokes were for laughter to break the tensions of the night.
I told her a story about another candidate who, several years ago, held a lead that kept declining as the night wore on, knowing that this was why Nicole was so uptight. At any rate, as the story went, as this particular candidate’s lead began to slip, she began to drink. As the margin lead continued to fall, the drunker the candidate got. Finally, when they declared her the victor, by the slimmest margins, her hair was skewed in a hundred different directions and she could barely walk straight.
Nicole whispered, “I’m glad you told me that story, because I was just thinking about getting me a drink.”
Then she paused and looked at me, and asked, “Can I have a drink?”
I responded, “No, not now.” Remember the previous experience, I said, “You may have to make a victory speech.” And, when I finally left just after midnight, I left a jubilant Nicole, sane and sober.