In every interview, I’m asked: “What’s it like being a female screenwriter in Hollywood?” I always smile and laugh. Then I answer, “Gosh, it’s just great. See, I was a waitress from a small town who had big dreams and…”
I created the TV series “Army Wives” because I wanted to tell a different story — not one of the heroic soldiers and their extraordinary sacrifices on the battlefield. Those brave stories were already being told. I wanted to shine a light on the people standing just off-screen, the women and children left behind in the shadows.
In one episode, there was a moment when a young Army wife realized how much she had changed once she had become a mother. Her partying “all about me” single life was over. No longer was every decision she made about her and what she wanted — but it was about what was best for her son.
“When you have a child,” she said, “you stop being the picture and you become the frame.”
That line has haunted me during this presidential election. It has also expanded.
Because when a person becomes a president, they should stop being the picture and become the frame — for the entire country. And our country is not just one person, with one skin color, and one belief system and one way to love. Our country is a beautiful tapestry filled with all colors of people with all kinds of stories, some told more than others.
At some point, this election stopped being a competition between Democrats and Republicans. It became an election for or against human decency. It was no longer “politics” that divided us. It was a choice between valuing just one of us…or all of us.
Your campaign valued all of us. Your picture included men, women, cisgender, transgender, black, brown, white, red, blue, gay, straight, Muslim, Christian, disabled, abled and more. You told our stories on a global stage, making us feel welcome, cared for and seen. Your frame pushed us forward to a bigger and better life.
Hillary, I want to tell you that you may have lost an election — but you didn’t lose anything. You are still you. You are the woman who brought so many of us out of the shadows and into the light.
For those of us of color, you acknowledged systemic racism. For those of us who love differently, you defended our right to love in a world that often feels so devoid of it. For those of us who pray differently, you defended our right to find God in a language that speaks to us. For those of us who are women, you withstood withering misogyny that must have splintered your soul, yet you showed us how to keep standing in our strength.
You gave our picture meaning.
You also framed our battle call.
“What’s it like being a female screenwriter in Hollywood?” Now, when I am asked that question, I will think of you, Hillary, and answer, “Let me tell you what it’s like to be a screenwriter in Hollywood.”
You spoke for me and you spoke for so many.
From your example, we must now look ahead and honor your basic principles of humanity and fairness. We must pledge to find kinship again in a country that is founded on a democratic system of equal opportunity for all. We must follow your leadership and speak up for integrity and kindness, for inclusion and tolerance, realizing if we do not we will live in a world that lacks all of those things.
When we hear hateful comments, we will not ignore them. When others are torn down, we will be there to lift them up. We will not let others be belittled so the small can feel big.
We will tell the truth and we will demand the truth.
And for the writers and artists of the world, we will not allow the most vulnerable of us to be pushed back into the shadows again and disappear. We will keep them in the light. We will tell their stories. We will sing their songs. We will paint their pictures. All within the beautiful frame you gave us.
Hillary, you have taken us further than anyone could have. It may not be where you wanted to go, but it was exactly where we needed to go.