A Letter to Hillary Clinton | Post-Election Thoughts


Dear Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton,

“Fear is always with us but we just don’t have time for it. Not now.”

You said this in your commencement address at Wellesley College 47 years ago. It has been on my mind since the moment I cast my ballot and it hit me for the first time that it might not be enough. As a young person facing a reality I never believed was possible, your speech, and the quotes I can not keep out of my mind or off this paper, is as empowering and uplifting now as I am sure it was when you gave it. I can hardly imagine what you must be feeling today, November 9th, but what I feel is fear. Fear that the years ahead of my generation will be even more of a struggle than they already seemed to be. Fear about my position as a young woman and closeted bisexual in a country led by someone who has bragged about sexual assault, threatened to have Roe v. Wade overturned, and promoted hate speech. Fear that this country will never properly heal from the past two years, or the next four. Fear that everything I believed about my country, despite its faults, was naive. Fear that no woman, no matter how inspiring, resilient, endorsed, or qualified, will ever be held to the same standards as a man of much lesser stature. Fear that my heartbreak, and the heartbreak of women like me, will become disillusionment.

Ever since I have asked what I want to be when I grow up, I have said I wanted to be the first female president of the United States. But I was lying: I wanted to be the second, or the third, or the tenth. I do not have the faith in myself that I can overcome what you have overcome. I have always, deep down, believed that this glass ceiling was just too thick for someone like me to shatter. I am faithless now more than ever, I am more afraid now than I ever thought I could be. You have never shown the hesitation that writhes in my gut every time I think about college, work, and the future. I was, and still am, one of those little girls watching you on television and seeing that, just maybe, I am, “Valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world,” as you put it earlier today. This fight for a country that is, as you also said, “fair, inclusive, and big hearted,” has never been about just one candidate or year. But it is so difficult to keep marching forward when our pant-suited legs have been swept out from under us. We must come together as a country and cooperate, but we cannot forget that this moment was a test for our country. A test of its progress, of the integrity of its ideals, and of the courage of its people. Our country failed this test, and to achieve the equal, hopeful America we all have fought so hard for is more daunting a task now than it was two days ago.

I am writing now to remind you, to beg you, never to subdue your crusade for young women, and all who must shout to be heard, in this country (not that you need it). We need you now more than ever. We need you to show us how to overcome our fear and use it to galvanize change. We need you lead us in standing up to this president and everything he symbolizes because you have shown that you do it best. We need someone to help us wipe our tears and never ever stop fighting. What you have overcome and what you have fought for in your career embodies the struggles that women face every day, and right now we need a hero. We need someone to show us how to find heroes in ourselves.

“The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible.”

These words are the perhaps the only ones that I can find meaning in at this moment. I fear that because of this setback, young women will become apathetic over the political discourse in this country,  that they will check out.  As heartbroken and terrified as I am, I refuse to do so. I refuse to stand by idle as my fears confirm themselves. It seems impossible that in a Trump presidency with a Republican Congress, that our voices could still be heard. It seems impossible that I could feel ready to come out in a society so filled with hate. It seems impossible that if we could not get you elected, that our dream is reachable any time soon. But with your continued leadership, I have a glimmer of faith that together this country can make these impossibles possible.

America must reap what it has sown. This turning point can be an opportunity, if we harvest everything we can from this infertile, orange soil. An opportunity to make undeniable the obstacles to equality in our country, and to combat the hypocrisy of ideals embodied in that man. An opportunity to tap into the nasty woman inside us all. We need you to show us how to “create within uncertainty,”  and let there be no illusions that this time is an uncertain one. We need you to help us write an American history in which our children will not know who Donald Trump is, in which a divided, spiteful country is one they do not recognize. We need you to remind us that no matter who is president love will always trump hate.

“All we can do is keep trying again and again and again…to win again what we’ve lost before.”

Thank you for your words and your actions, for everything you have done and everything you will do, for all that you are and all that you refuse to be, for all you change and all you fight to keep. Thank you.