A Call for Party Unity
With tonight's debate, the candidates for the Democratic presidential primary showed signs of putting the party and the nation above their own presidential ambitions. I believe that this was particularly so in the case of Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is behind in the race for the Democratic nomination. She had the least to gain by making a peace offering. But she did just that. In her answer to the final debate question, she gave a clear indication that she intends to put party unity and the good of the nation above winning. She did this by leaving out real attacks and offering the olive branch to Barack Obama. I believe she decided to give it her all, and to let go of the results.
Some cynics may regard this as just another Clinton ploy. But I think they would be wrong to do so. Hillary took few shots at Obama, despite the "conventional wisdom," which claimed that she had to. She showed that she's a competitor. But she also refused to bear a flame-thrower.
This primary has been particularly tough and bitter. The acrimony is palpable. I myself have been party to it. Primary allegiances have torn through families, pitting father against son, husband against wife, brother against sister. Respective supporters have never felt more strongly about their candidates, and for good reason. This election season offered us a bounty of talent, dedication and inspiration-from all the candidates. Never have we been treated to such possibilities. Never have we seen seemingly impossible ceilings broken nor formerly closed doors of opportunity flung wide open. Let's celebrate this banquet and share it now, at one table.
I sincerely hope that the supporters of the candidates' respective camps can follow the example of their candidates. As Hillary promised unity, so should we. As Barack showed respect and admiration, so should we. Let's respect each other, or we will have come this far for naught.
To the Obama supporters, I ask you to heed the calls of your own candidate for unity. Reach out and seek to bring the Clinton supporters to you. Put aside triumphalism and bitterness toward them. Do as Barak Obama would have you do; reach across the narrow aisle between your own and the Clinton camp. Offer signs of accord and acceptance. Help them along. Make them feel welcomed.
To the Clinton camp, I suggest the same. Leave off bitterness, as Hillary did tonight. Winning is not worth the torching of hopes.
To Barak Obama, I urge you, if nominated, to make Hillary Clinton your running mate. To Hillary Clinton, should you find a way to win, I urge you to ask Barack to be yours. I ask both of you to do so, even if you know that the other cannot accept. This is our only chance of moving beyond the most bitterly contested Democratic primary in decades.
Rec, The Rec Report
Michael D. Rectenwald, Ph.D.
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