By Nicholas Perugini, Opinion Writer
The wounds from the 2016 presidential election have not yet healed despite it being almost a year since the election. A Pew Research Center study published earlier this month states that Americans are divided by party lines more than ever. The fatal clash in Charlottesville over the summer that took the life Heather Heyer has shown just how bad the situation has become. Whom do we blame for keeping these wounds open and increasing distrust among fellow Americans? While it is evident that the Trump administration is adding more fuel to this fire, they do not shoulder the full blame.
Hillary Clinton has failed to follow her own words leading up to Election Day, and the nation must respect the peaceful transition of power. It seems that whenever a major political issue attracts headlines, it is quickly followed by a response from Hillary Clinton. Less than five months after President Trump’s inauguration, Hillary Clinton stated in an interview that she was now a part of the resistance to the Trump Presidency. I believe that such a response is in poor taste, considering the tension in American politics. Imagine if Mitt Romney had stated he was going to resist President Obama after the 2012 election or if Senator John McCain decided he would focus on impeaching Obama in the wake of the 2008 election. Yes, Clinton is now a private citizen and is entitled to speak her opinion, but she must learn that her words have consequences.
Earlier this month Clinton condemned President Trump’s handling of the Iran nuclear deal saying it makes the world lose faith in America’s word. She has also made comments on the current North Korean crisis, proposed healthcare legislation, and the recent shooting in Las Vegas. Last week Clinton openly said she would continue to oppose the President. In a BBC interview she stated, “ I think I’m in a position where my voice will actually be magnified because I am not running (for office), and there’s a very good basis, as we watch Trump’s support shrink, that people will say, ‘Well, what she said was right.” Clinton looks as if she will continue to be against the current administration causing the wounds in our nation stay open. Millions of individuals look up to Clinton as a role model, meaning her words have tremendous weight. She is recklessly using them for political points. Hillary intentionally or not, is worsening the political climate in America by keeping the memories of defeat fresh in the minds of many supporters. This is not only causing radicalization on the left, but also giving talking points for alt-right leaders to stir up their own base.
Does Clinton need to recede from political life completely? No. Other past presidential candidates have stayed active in politics but have put their energy to more constructive causes. After the 1984 election, Democratic candidate Walter Mondale led the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, a non-partisan group that helps democratic institutions abroad. Bob Dole, the Republican candidate in the 1996 election later put his efforts in creating the World War II monument in D.C. Al Gore devoted himself to climate change awareness after his loss in 2000. Instead of using her influence to cause more disruption and tension in America, Hillary Clinton should respect the results of the 2016 election and use her political power for more constructive endeavors.
Am I saying that we should not criticize the Trump administration? No, far from it, I believe that this current administration needs to be held accountable for its actions. What I am saying is that it is not Hillary Clinton’s job to lead the charge against President Trump. There are already more appropriate actions taking place to make sure that a healthy political discourse happens in this nation. Senator McCain made a wonderful speech last week denouncing the rise of nationalism in the country. Elizabeth Warren is rallying Democrats in Congress to keep the powers of the presidency in check. The nation does not need Hillary Clinton to lead the charge against Trump. Instead, we need her to allow others to take the political stage to oppose the current administration in order to help our nation heal.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, October 24th print edition.
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