I learned today that I did not obtain my dream job – the full-time, tenure-track, History Instructor position at a community college in Tallahassee, Florida.

It’s OK. Really.

I believe sincerely that Tallahassee Community College is a great school and that their progressive stance on improving student learning will continue to impress. I am happy for them.

This is now an opportunity for me to practice a once strong cultural American trait, but alas, a trait that is in decline: magnanimity.

Frederick Ginzel (1878-1975)

I remember my great grandfather Frederick Ginzel once complaining about the loss of this trait. “Our leaders used to be

magnanimous,” he said complaining to the flickering television screen where Richard Nixon sweated as he resigned. “What I wouldn’t give for a Chester Alan Arthur.” I reckon in his own way, my great grandpop was trying to tell me something by relaying the mere mention of President Arthur (1881-1885) juxtaposed to President Nixon. But I was only nine, and it took me some twenty years of reflection to even come close to understanding my great granpop’s take. Nobody expected anything but graft, greed and cronyism from Arthur and he ended up as one of the more honest, stalwart, and reform-minded presidents of the latter part of the nineteenth century. Whereas we all know about “Tricky Dicky.”

But I have a few magnanimous examples from life, history, and everything to help me get through.

There is magnanimity in the Olympics where silver and bronze medalists listen attentively to the anthem of the champion.

There was magnanimity in Lee as he surrendered to Grant.

There is magnanimity in the way our outgoing presidents turn over the reins of power to the newcomers.

There was magnanimity in Paul who proselytized in Italy after the Romans crucified Christ.

There is magnanimity in these Tom T. Hall lyrics from his “I Love” song…

I love winners when they cry

Losers when they try

There was magnanimity in the way Joe Frazier hugged Muhammad Ali after he lost their second fight on points.

There is magnanimity in some old black and white movies of the 1930s where the jilted lover congratulates the groom though he still loves the bride.

There was magnanimity in Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, when, after wrongly accused and tortured, wrote The Prince as a hopeful gift to his tormentors.

There is magnanimity in the progression of African American music from Blues, to Rock and Roll, to Hip-Hop.

There was magnanimity in John Lennon when he put pen and pencil to the cause, “All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance.”

There is magnanimity in little league games where “two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate,” is sung, although at times too insincerely…nevertheless.

There was magnanimity in the way Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce nation surrendered to U.S. Armed forces only miles from the Canadian border, “I will fight no more, forever.”

There is magnanimity in the San Francisco rock band The Moring Benders as they donated 100% of the proceeds of their latest album to assisting Japan in their time of need after the quake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown.

There are a million and half examples of magnanimity and probably double that. So let me be, at my humblest trifling, magnanimous in not being selected a future Floridian.

And great grandpop, if you’re listening, I get it now.

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