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Working on this column earlier this evening, a certain heaviness hovered in the air. We as a nation had just experienced a history making event. After a record long and intensely fought battle, the young African American with the funny name had garnered the 'magic number'. Senator Barack Obama would be the nominee of the Democratic Party. And a woman, Senator Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, had run neck and neck with him to the end, each even winning one of the last two battle grounds. More votes were cast for these two candidates than ever before in any presidential nominating campaign. So where was the celebration? Where was the sense of living in a historical moment?

The 'breaking news' has happened so fast over the last months, it has become necessary to have almost a running dialogue going to remain abreast of the events when preparing this column so I can be somewhat 'timely'. The television was rumbling in the background as the various evening news talk shows incessantly analyzed the closing events of the Democratic Presidential Primary campaign.

As the polls closed last night, all three candidates were in turn to take to the stage. John McCain led off and immediately set the tone of the upcoming weeks to the conventions and the general election beyond. He was followed by Mrs. Clinton taking to the stage in New York. She thanked her many staff and supporters, thanked the people of South Dakota for her win there that very evening, and reiterated her policies and the enthusiasm of the millions that had voted for her, promising  to never stop working for them. She did congratulate Mr. Obama for his hard fought campaign and alluded that she'd been honored to have fought this battle with him. But something was missing. Mrs. Clinton closed by imploring of her audience "Where do we go from here?"  

That something, that question, was the impetus behind the endless rhetoric on the news all day today. It still wasn't over! Mr. Obama had claimed his 'presumptive' nominee status, but the revelry that might have, should have, been present for at least half of the Democratic Party at the conclusion of this landmark race was ringing kind of flat even though the disappointment in the other half was totally understandable.      

No one can fault Mrs. Clinton for wanting her place in the sun. She has secured that already. And, I'm sure she will remain in public service in some capacity for many years to come. Her 'fighter' strength has become her persona. However, I am of the opinion that being a gracious woman is not a sign of weakness. It is, actually, a sign of ‘class’ and confidence. She could have actually improved her stature as a ‘great lady’ by not only congratulating Mr. Obama on his long hard-fought win, but by saying “I stand ready to do whatever it takes to ensure that Mr. Obama is victorious in November“. I think that is what he would have done in her place were the situation reversed. It might be what a lot of other very capable and strong women would have done as well. If Mrs. Clinton wants to be seriously considered as a running mate, the often called "dream ticket", I think a certain amount of grace would serve her better.  

Senator Obama ran on the premise of changing how things are done in Washington. He fought a good fight without resorting to negativity and derision and procured the nomination against all odds and against the most powerful machine in the Democratic Party. If he feels forced to take the Clinton dynasty to the oval office on his coat tails, you don’t just get Mrs., you get Mr. too, to insure his electability, he will instantly blemish the premise upon which he sought the office. He would be putting electability over principle, winning over integrity, and Washington won’t change an iota. If he’s not strong enough to win on his own credentials with a VP of his own choosing, even if it IS Mrs. Clinton, then he should step aside right now because he’s no different. No different at all.

A smart, strong, confident woman would know that. There’s opportunity and there’s oppression. We’ve had enough of oppression by power. As a woman, I would caution Mrs. Clinton that it was her feelings of ‘entitlement’ from the very beginning of this nomination process that could be looked at today as the cause of the many strategy gaffes that lost it for her. It might behoove her supporters to understand that, too.

But once again, mid-column, the 'breaking news' is again coming across the screen. It is now being reported that Senator Clinton has announced she will formally withdraw from the race on Friday at a private meeting in her home with her closest staff and advisors. On Saturday, she will announce this decision at a public event. I suspect that Mr. Obama will be invited to be present at that event. Perhaps, it's over after all. Perhaps now, the two Parties and the Nation can get back on the road to unity, back to the issues that affect us all with a healthy but vigorous and honest campaign. Congratulations, Mrs. Clinton, on a sound and patriotic decision. Congratulations to Mr. Obama on achieving a new milestone in history, and to Mr. McCain, a man whose integrity is not questioned, as well.

Susan Haley


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Jun 4, 2008
    • Very nicely said Susan.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lois Stern wrote Jun 5, 2008
    • You’d better bet I am keeping my eye on this campaign! I totally agree that the measure of a man (or woman) is often how they deal with defeat, because, after all it isn’t difficult to shine in victory! As for McCain, he might have integrity, but he also has a vicious temper that he easily focuses on his enemies. I pray for wisdom and grace as people go to the poles this Nov.

      Lois W. Stern
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      Loiswstern, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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