How Far Will You Go To Not Lose?

Let's have a political thought experiment:

You have a friend with whom you've discussed politics. You have similiar political beliefs. In fact, you both agree that it's very important to stop The Other Party from winning the national election. You've had long night conversations about how bad it would be for your country if Your Party lost. That political party would mess things up so badly, you're sure it will get people killed.

Naturally, you plan to vote, and when the time comes, you cast your ballot along party lines, more or less. You vote, and you go home to wait. You practically hold your breath, hoping against hope that the bad guys will lose - and they do lose. You win.

You're happy (and relieved), but your friend is ecstatic. He can hardly contain himself. He gloats. He clearly take this much more personally than you, and it's not clear why. After all, you figure that Your Party will be able to accomplish some of the things you believe in, but that The Other Party (those scoundrels) will fight them the whole way. It's not like this solves everything.

After the election, the excitement wears off. There's still the ordinary political work to be done. For you, like everyone else, there's another work week ahead. You celebrate for a while, and then go back to the dull business of ordinary life.

Weeks later, your friend's eye is still twinkling. He is still talking about the election. He is the only one around talking election politics. It seems silly. One day, with no one else around, he lets you in on a secret.

"I did it. It was my win. I found out how to make sure we won."

He is perfectly serious. He won't tell you any details, but he did something - something more than trying to get his friends and neighbors out to vote. You don't know if he means voodoo rituals, voting-machine hacking, or something else. You don't know what he did, but he cheated. He tried to guarantee the election, and he thinks he succeeded.

How do you feel? What do you do now?

The good guys won, right? You didn't cheat (yourself), right? Your friend is probably wrong - Your Party probably would have won anyway.


What do you tell yourself?