In a democratic society there is no tradition more important than on election night a candidate who has fallen short in his goal, congratulating the winner. Many of us stay up late to hear the loser courageously offer a concession speech – an awkward moment and one filled with tears and disappointment but perhaps our greatest tradition as it sends the message that democracy only works when those in the minority, however grudgingly, accept the choice of the majority. Without that, democracy collapses – a truth that Lincoln articulated better than anyone when he said, three years after 11 states did not accept the legitimacy of his election, that the Civil War was a “great test of whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.” That is why there is no matter more serious than a person acting on his or her own belief that the result of an election is illegitimate – in this case, by petitioning a single appointed official to have the most recent North Shore Board of Education trustees election, in which more than 2400 citizens participated, overturned. And those taking such action must have the courage to say they are doing so – to be open and forthright about it, to answer questions and defend their position publicly. For those who took the time to research and learn about the candidates in this past May’s School Board election, and made it to the polls no matter how busy or tired, and cast votes – legitimate votes, honest votes, well-thought-out votes - they deserve no less. That is basic, it’s Civics 101.