The Honor Was All Mine: A Love Letter to HRC
I finally cried. As much as I have spent two days sad and wrecked, these were tears of joy. I was so happy and honored to vote for Hillary Clinton and to have been able to participate in her campaign for president. Looking back over my year, I realized I owed many of the highs to Hillary.
I got to see Elton John in concert for the first time, and to laugh with Amy Poehler and other comedic geniuses, while my kids got to bowl with Bill Clinton. As a serial non-watcher of TV and movies, I watched some of the best videos ever. I even started watching Saturday Live again, something that had been an early teenage ritual. I connected with all of my fierce feminist friends from every generation about how happy we were to vote for a woman. I went door-to-door, something I hadn’t done since 1992, and was reminded again that though there might be economic and racial differences, there is much more we share in common. I got to throw a kick ass dinner party and raise bundles for Hillary Clinton and gave more to her campaign that I had to give.
I stopped strangers on the street to ask if they were voting. I felt bold to ask for things I hadn’t since I was in my early 20s, then creating a scrappy non-profit. In taxis I actually kept my phone in my bag and had great conversations with my cab drivers about the election. I proudly wore my “’I’m with Her” t-shirt on the sidelines of lacrosse games and even on a paintball field, both times, knowing it was perhaps life endangering to do so.
In many ways, Hillary’s campaign gave me an affirmation to be me — a confident, bold woman, who wants to make the world better for others and doesn’t want to be punished or ridiculed. Whatever resistance I might confront, that’s nothing compared to what I witnessed Hillary confront. But observing her campaign, also made me confront some of my own limitations — as much as I was excited to root for her, I was no longer brave enough to be her. Through my college years I honestly thought: I want to be the first female president of the United States. Then, like most overachieving women I know, life got in the way of those dreams or at least diminished them. The sexism, if not blatant, was at a minimum palpable and the demands of family were an impossible to ignore reality.
I’ve had a crush on Hillary Clinton since the early nineties. In 1992, the DNC was in NYC and I was an adventurous recent college graduate ready to crash any party. By 1994, I saw Rachel Dretzin’s amazing documentary Hillary’s Class and was awed by this brave, passionate person, who like me went to an all-woman’s college where the possibilities for women seemed limitless. In 1995, I was one of thousands who watched her say to the world: Women’s Rights are Humans Rights. By 2000 I was honored to vote for her to be my Senator. And in 2013 when I got to sit two seats away from her at a very special state dinner, I watched her and Bill hold hands under the table.
In other words she was the rare woman who could do it all. And that’s exactly why some high achieving — yes, often white — women never liked Hillary: they don’t like that they never realized their potential.
Here’s the irony, I felt like I worked hard and as I popped out of a van on Tuesday evening after having spent the day campaigning after being asked I confessed to my traveling group: “I don’t think she will win.” I wanted her to win — and there was never a moment when I wasn’t in overdrive. But as a traveling feminist I saw the hate and the resistance too intimately. None of that mattered. While I wish she was my president, it was an honor to even vote for her.