I was just thinking about you this morning, and trying to imagine what you might be doing. We don’t know! We haven’t heard a peep about you since…
It might be the first time in 40 years you’ve had a little privacy.
I wonder what you’re doing with it. I hope you’re cuddling with your sweet grandbabies. Innocents. I hope you’re getting some rest, eating well and sleeping, maybe taking bubble baths. I hope you haven’t internalized the vitriol. I hope they didn’t break you.
Dear Hillary, I hope we didn’t break you. I guess I’ll just speak for me — but I think I’m not alone. We expected a lot from you. I think I expected a lot from you. I wanted to love the you I used to love: the one that was a young woman fighting for children’s lives, fighting for universal health care while people hated you for stepping out of bounds, and for your fucking headband. I couldn’t love the you that voted for the war… See, I thought I had to. Because by then, you had become something else, something more, a SYMBOL — you know, and we only have two:
Madonna and Whore.
And then you came out onto the stage like a beautiful, magical crone goddess in that fabulous white suit, and you spoke with the voice and experience of a grand mother. No! — a GRAND MOTHER, fearless and graceful, all the while smack in the crosshairs of this nation’s most virulent expressions of misogyny since the Salem Witch Trials. Presidential election as witch trial. Strong under the pressure we heaped on you, to represent, to be the first, to always be better, more perfect. The burdens of our expectations, our disappointments. Damn, I felt them all!
And the attacks came head on. But they also came at you sideways, the way symbols do. Sneaking in through the collective unconscious, coopting the lie of post-feminism: that we no longer need feminism. That it doesn’t MATTER that you’re a woman. The lie that tricked WAY too many women into discounting consideration of the new kind of power and experience you would bring, discounting those things in favor of more legitimate matters, the matters men think are serious, things like war, trade and the economy … ok, but you were still the WAY better choice!
So, what the fuck happened?
Dear Hillary, I don’t know what happened. But I do think that a deeply ingrained fear of women was part of it. And I don’t want to write that off. But, a scary thing to me is that, as prominent as his anti-woman statements were, Trump did not run AS a woman hater… he just happened to be one. And that was OK with a lot of people. Like he just happened to be a racist xenophobe. And now the world turns its attention back to war, trade and the economy in the same old way, business as usual.
I’m scared of the world I can no longer deny we live in.
I realize this is not a thorough intersectional analysis of what happened… Policy-wise, there were plenty of reasons to want another option. This is just an imperfect letter from one imperfect woman to another. To a woman, not a symbol. To the woman who ran for president, thank you. It matters to me that you ran.
Dear Hillary, thank you, and I’m sorry. Now, please, go hug your grandbabies. We have work to do.