Home>Feature>The O’Toole Chronicles: Political Grudges

Essex County Commissioner Pat Sebold, the Livingston Democratic municipal chair since 1975, and former Livingston Mayor David Wildstein didn’t speak for 30 years before reconnecting in 2018. Now they’re good friends. (Photo: Pat Sebold via Facebook).

The O’Toole Chronicles: Political Grudges

By Kevin O'Toole, March 07 2023 12:01 am

Let’s talk about something that happens at the end of EVERY campaign – grudges.

Political grudges are usually hardened during the campaign because your opponent said something about you, accused you of something during the campaign, put out a flier that grossly distorted your vote, knocked on your mother’s door looking for a vote – something happened, real or imagined, that flipped the proverbial “switch” for you.

In this political arena of ours, everyone has suffered through wins and losses. If you are in this game of gladiators long enough, you will find even the mightiest and luckiest land on a previously unforeseen or unavoidable land mine.

Those losses develop scar tissue, and some of us tend to hang on to those grudges.

Here is unexpected advice coming at you – LET IT GO!

When you look at it dispassionately, it is smarter and goes a long way to creating longevity in this business.

I must confess that I have been guilty of hanging on to decades-old grudges, but as I get older, I have come around to the wisdom that it is entirely a waste of energy to let grudges consume you.

Don’t get me wrong, if an individual is trying to harm, wound, or kill you politically, then by all means, you must counter with all of your might and put down this immediate danger. However, if you are the one left standing – LET IT GO!

Life has a lot of turns that we don’t expect, if you’re holding onto a grudge from yesteryear, then chances are you missed a turn.

Senator Gormley taught me a long time ago about being a gracious winner (he is a way better coach than a player), and those words stick with me to this day.

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