Dear Commons Community,
Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan’s daughter, posted a letter to Hillary Clinton on her website advising her not to wade into the mud with Donald Trump and “don’t respond to Donald Trump’s bullying…all that is accomplished is, you both get dirty”.
Excellent advice for a presidential candidate although in the streets of New York, the popular wisdom is that you take care of a bully by punching him in the nose.
The full text of the letter is below.
We only met once, so I doubt that you will ever see this. But I do feel the need to express myself about your campaign and the up-coming debates. Lately it seems as if you and your running mate, Tim Kaine, are trying to out-bully Donald Trump. It appears to have started when he called you a bigot. I can understand how this would infuriate you — it’s a terrible thing to accuse someone of — but may I suggest that responding in kind by pointing out his racist tendencies is simply getting down into the mud with a mud-throwing bully? All that is accomplished is, you both get dirty. I am certain that, when Chelsea was growing up, if she was bullied by a schoolmate, you didn’t tell her to go out there and be meaner than that kid. This would not be good parenting. Well, we’re living through the adult version of that scenario and I believe I speak for many people when I plead with you to please act like the adult here — don’t respond to Donald Trump’s bullying. Ever. America is starved for some show of dignity in this election year, and you are the only one who can provide it.
Now about the debates. According to the news, you are studying and rehearsing. This is a good thing. One report suggested you might be rehearsing with several people pretending to be Donald Trump because you can’t know which Donald Trump will show up. While it is true that debating Trump is bit like debating Sybil, I think it could be overwhelming to try and suss out all 16 personalities and come up with a game plan for each one. What about this? What about being so impenetrably calm that none of his guises can throw you off? What about responding to every taunt and innuendo, every insult, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the facts and issues facing this country (and this world) today so that he will look like a buffoon no matter which one of his personalities emerges? You could easily make it seem like you showed up for a presidential debate and he showed up for a fight in the sandbox.
The one time we met was at my mother’s service. The way you looked at me after my eulogy, the pride and the understanding in your eyes and the slight nod of your head signaling your approval was a small private moment between us, but it was a huge moment in my life. Your compassion and, yes, your approval, meant the world to me, as did the words we shared afterward. I don’t think many people have seen that side of you. I think they should. A president has to parent America and there are a lot of dimensions to that task. You may be debating Sybil, but the consistency, comfort and knowledge of a parent who can responsibly lead our fractured country into more peaceful times will leave Sybil chattering among 16 personalities, none of which are capable of leading.