In her self-aggrandizing non-concession speech Tuesday night, Sen. Hillary Clinton invited voters to log on to www.HillaryClinton.com and tell her what we think she should do now. Well, I dropped Hillary an e-mail and, if you've got a minute, I'd like to share it with you. My letter went like this:
Dear Sen. Clinton,
I was offended by your self-centered, combative speech after yesterday's Minnesota and South Dakota primaries. Your refusal to concede the race, to acknowledge Sen. Obama's historic win and to extend common courtesy to Sen. Obama make your statements about Democratic Party unity seem phony. You lost the election yesterday, but rather than step aside graciously, you came out swinging, condescended the winner and tried to make the night all about you.
Your stubborn arrogance was apparent before you took the stage. Even though it was at least half-an-hour after Sen. Obama sewed up the winning number of delegates, you allowed Terry McAuliffe to introduce you as "the next president of the United States!" Shameful. Later, you told your supporters that you were not going to make a decision. But there is nothing for you to decide, because Sen. Obama won the nomination fair and square. The electoral process has made the decision for you.
Whether you're prepared to acknowledge it or not, the campaign is over and Sen. Obama is our party's nominee.
You can be justifiably proud of the more than 17 million voters who cast ballots for you during the primaries. But when you imply that these voters could become "invisible," you are being inaccurate and divisive. Even more divisive was your reference to "count(ing) every vote" (sour grapes over the outcome of the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting) and your smiling silence as your supporters chanted, "Denver! Denver!"
These are not examples of a commitment to party unity. They are selfish, stiff-necked grandstanding.
You played up the significance of your running for President as a woman but ignored the greatness Sen. Obama winning the nomination as a black candidate. You went out of your way to mention the 90-year-old ladies who remember when women could not vote and the parents who pointed to you as an example to their daughters.
But what about blacks who lived under Jim Crow and remember what it was like when black folks couldn't vote? What about us black parents who point with pride to Obama as an example to our children? We weren't important enough to merit a mention in your speech. By ignoring the monumental racial importance of Tuesday night, you insulted Barack Obama, black America at large and the heroes of all races who fought, suffered and died for racial equality from slavery up through the present day.
Your disdain for Sen. Obama was clear in your patronizing statement, "I would like all of us to take a moment to recognize him and his supporters for all they have accomplished." Gee, thanks. Here we are at one of the most significant social and political milestones in American history and you treat it like a footnote. Sen. Obama has literally changed our nation but the only thing you gave him credit for was running "an extraordinary race" and inspiring and empowering voters to get involved in the process. Contrast your dismissive acknowledgment with Obama's glowing praise for your history-making campaign and it's easy to see that his character is made of much greater stuff than yours.
And you wonder why black folks cheered when Father Michael Pfleger mocked you.
As a final insult on Tuesday night, you didn't even phone Sen. Obama to congratulate him on securing the nomination. Instead, you waited for him to call you and then allowed his call to go to voicemail. Twice. You finally got around to returning Obama's calls an hour after he'd left his messages. That was rank arrogance, disgracefully poor etiquette, bad sportsmanship and the opposite of party unity.
Our party and our nation deserve better.
Cameron Turner is a veteran entertainment journalist, cultural critic and founding commentator for the African-American news and opinion site, UrbanThoughtCollective.com.