One of my favorite professors at Virginia Commonwealth University told my classmates and me that a rule or saying can have a ring of truth, yet not be true. It can have a good cadence and "roll nicely," he would say, but be foolish. For example, the idea that, "The exception proves the rule," sounds good, but is clearly incorrect. As he would point out, once we see a flying elephant, the rule that "Elephants cannot fly" has not been proven; it has been discredited. He encouraged us to think with discernment.
In recent days, I think of this professor when I hear people suggest that a voter whose candidate is defeated in a recent election should join with the official’s supporters and wish them success in their endeavors. Hold on! It seems to me that whether we wish the newly-elected official success depends upon whether the official’s policies are praiseworthy, and a person is not unkind or a bad citizen in choosing to dwell on the possibility ...
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