This is a very hard letter for me to write, so please bear with me.
I’d like to ask you, with all due respect and humility, to step down as a Democratic Candidate for President of the United States.
Please understand this is not because I believe you can not or should not lead this nation. Please understand that I find you qualified, capable, and worthy. Please also understand I want nothing more than to see a female as the leader of the free world. I would be pleased and honored if you were that female.
However I am finding, right or wrong, many citizens of this country seem to react to you on an emotional level. Emotional, not practical. They can’t seem to see your record. They can’t seem to see your policy. They just hear or read “Hillary” and venom or praise spews.
I thought that with your candidacy, would come reason. I thought that you would be able to get a fair shake by main stream media, by voters, by sexists, and by soccer moms. I thought over time people would begin to see that you really are an effective politician.
I was wrong.
Tonight, I’m typing as I watch you speak in El Paso, Texas. I’m sad. There really is no other way to put it-I’m sad.
I truly believed you would be the best person for the job, and I had this nagging thought in the back of my mind that is now at the forefront. The thought that drove me on Super Tuesday to Vote for Senator Obama and the thought that is the driving force as I write tonight: Senator Hillary Clinton divides this country.
It’s not fair. It’s not right. And under just about ANY other circumstance I would go to the mat for you. However we are a wounded and deeply divided nation. We are a nation at war. We are a nation at odds with each-other. It’s ugly. I thought you could get people past it. I really did.
When I told myself it was gender that got people going, I refrained from asking and wanting you to step aside. Simply on principle, I wanted to see you run and win because they said it couldn’t be done. Because it was my belief, this was all about being a girl.
It’s not, and I was wrong.
I firmly believe while the gender issue has given you a handicap I hope we all one day overcome, it is NOT the reason people have a gut reaction to you or your campaign or your legacy.
Enter the Senator from Illinois, and what I think could be your true legacy. If you were to step aside now, shockingly early and shockingly un-Hilllary-like, you could galvanize an entire nation behind your party. If you were to throw your weight, and your tremendous political clout behind Senator Obama you could still change the world and make your mark in a way no one would expect and everyone would admire.
I don’t want to see you throw in the towel because the fight is too hard or the mountain too tall. I am asking you to throw it in because history is on the line. It is not the history either of us expected, however it is an equally important, momentous, earthshaking change in this country we sorely need.
Do something no one would ever expect. Do something extraordinary. Do something that changes politics as usual and changes history.
I could have never predicted having to chose between what my husband called “the lesser of two goods, not the lesser of two evils” when it came time to cast my vote.
It was agonizing.
But in the end, with no major policy difference and valid reasons on BOTH sides, I had to go with the candidate who I thought could best bring our nation back together. Who could cross party lines and gender lines and racial lines.
I wanted it to be you, but it’s not. For some reason you still get people very riled up, and not in the good way.
There is no way around it-it sucks. But after 7 years of nothing but fighting and head shaking and feeling like we’re living in two Americas, I can’t do it again. Not even if my team is in office.
I really hate asking you to do this, but I want you to please step down and let this nation heal.
We’ve been too angry for too long and your history and your name brings a suitcase of anger to the White House front door.
With the full weight of the Clinton name, behind the scenes, your true legacy could be written. With the full weight of the Clinton know-how you could help orchestrate the next chapter in American history where an African-American leads our nation.
It is this time in history your nation needs you.
As nation’s go, ours has never been one to do things the way we predict. Who could have seen when we finally get our first, legitimate, female front runner we’d see our first, legitimate front runner of color?
Our nation and it’s people need you to do what is best for this country. We need you to be true to what you say on the stump and bring us back together.
If you firmly believe that there is still time for you to change the hearts and minds of those rude and stubborn Americans who are voting with their gut when they see “Hillary” on the ballot-then please, prove me wrong. I’ll be at the Democratic National Convention come August and I’ll hold up my Hillary sign loud and proud and fall in line.
But I think you’ve tried. You tried with everything you had to overcome that Clinton-emotional reaction. Here we are, moving into Texas and Ohio and Pennsylvania-and it’s not you winning over hearts and minds, it’s the Senator from Illinois.
Let’s end the division in this country now. Right now. Let’s start with the Democratic Party early and provide a united front against the GOP months ahead of schedule.
Let’s take back this country for the people, with you playing a much different role than you envisioned.
Make history. Make us one. Step down now.
Erin Kotecki Vest
voter, mother, woman, feminist, writer, dreamer, and Hillary fan
*edited on Valentine’s Day* want to yell at me in person over this letter? Sign up to webchat with me on ooVoo Friday, Feb. 15th from 930am PST to 1130am PST. Hell, I’ll even throw in more time just to take your call