I am an unabashed supporter of Barack Obama. I supported his campaign for the U.S. Senate when he was viewed as a “long shot” candidate, and I endorsed him for president even before he announced his candidacy. In the last month, I’ve personally campaigned for him in three states. I believe that he is our best candidate and that he will be a great president-the kind of president our country desperately needs at this moment.

That said, I am troubled by the intensity of the rhetoric coming from supporters of both leading candidates, some of which has surfaced of late in letters and columns in Wednesday Journal [Viewpoints, Feb. 20]. While the local war of words is nothing compared to the overt misogyny directed at Sen. Clinton elsewhere, nor to the malicious lies about Sen. Obama’s faith and patriotism simmering on the Internet, there is no need here in Oak Park for overheated political hyperbole. We Democrats should count ourselves blessed to have two such extraordinary candidates battling for the nomination-a nomination that will break barriers regardless of the outcome.

Sen. Clinton is a substantive person and formidable political candidate. She should not be vilified or marginalized. We supporters of Sen. Obama should show Sen. Clinton the same professional respect that Sen. Obama himself shows her.

Sen. Obama is a substantive person and formidable political candidate. He should not be dismissed or marginalized. Supporters of Sen. Clinton should show Sen. Obama the same professional respect that Sen. Clinton herself shows him.

The nominating process has almost run its course. While I believe and hope that Sen. Obama will be our party’s nominee, I would certainly support Sen. Clinton, were she nominated. More so than ever before, we Democrats need to rally ’round our nominee, and do so in a manner that engages independent voters and Republicans troubled by the course of current events. Fights within families often include the most hurtful words, but just as often lead to healing. In a campaign where words matter, let us all begin the healing by choosing our words more carefully.

Don Harmon

Illinois state senator, 39th Legislative District

Join the discussion on social media!