The Oxford English Dictionary defines “loser” as a person who is defeated in a competition or a person who is regularly unsuccessful.
According to the dictionary definition, loser is simply a statement of fact.
After all, any game or competition is going to have winners and losers. That doesn’t make the losing team bad people. No one wins every game. No one. So, anyone entering any competition will likely end up being a loser at some point. We are all losers in one way or another.
When loser is used in the way it is intended to be used, it is just part of life. You win some and you lose some. Losing shouldn’t and doesn’t define us.
However, loser has been turned into a derogatory term. An insult tossed out with little thought: Don’t be such a loser, you’re a real loser or a born loser.
This is reflected in the increasing use of the word over the past 20 years and particular during Trump’s administration. Indeed, it is an indication of just how little thought takes place in a politician’s mind when they start to describe their opponents as “losers.”
The political process is intended to be one where politicians of all stripes negotiate with each other in good faith for the betterment of our society and our country. Indeed, for the betterment of the world as a whole.
But when such discussions become about winning – winning at all costs – we all lose. Because winning may not result in the best legislation, the best laws, the best results, or the best approach. When winning is more important than getting it right, then getting it wrong is a real possibility.
Increasingly, though, this is where our politics are headed. Not towards consensus or mutual understanding but towards winning regardless of how absurd or wrongheaded their view might be. And if you disagree with someone, well, they are just a loser. Even if they win.
I hold no illusions that the term will be banished from the political landscape. Most politicians want to win and win at all costs. Putin and Trump, for example, are leaders who put winning above doing what is right. But maybe a little bit of civility would be nice.