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Therapeutic politics

August 16, 2008

Re "A psychological bloc," editorial, Aug. 12

Your editorial raises a question about familiarity with ancient Greek tragedy, all right -- but yours, not Hillary Clinton's. "Catharsis," does not merely equate to "pity and fear" but leads to the purgation of those emotions -- that is, a release of tension, a movement toward calmness once again. And it is clearly that sense of therapeutic release that Clinton means: closure, the recognition of having experienced and resolved events and emotions.

You imply there is something unreasonable about that, and that Clinton actually thinks her supporters are "sore losers." Wrong on both counts. Putting her name into nomination -- a traditional procedure accorded many male candidates who have preceded her -- is the least the Democratic Party can do to begin healing the intense divide that Barack Obama's campaign has created.

In terms of recognizing "reality," there is no reality more critical for the Democrats than the imperative to deal wisely with that divide.

Further dismissal and disdain for Clinton and her supporters, from the party and the media, will look very much like one of the definitions for "purgation," one particularly pertinent in a totalitarian climate: the process of ridding a political party of those persons considered disloyal.

Many of us lifelong Democrats haven't rolled over to Obama because we do not believe he is ready to be president of this country, and because we believe that loyalty must be earned. It cannot be commanded. The Democrats' real tragedy will be played out, or not, depending on whether the party can comprehend that.

Lynn Walterick

Exeter, N.H.

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