Tried and True: An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton
Dear Mrs. Clinton,
As a bit of a political junkie, I have countless memories of prominent figures, some of which I love and others I loathe. However, of all I’ve seen, there’s one memory that stands above the rest.
It consists of a vibrant, courageous young woman taking the stage at a private, liberal arts college in Wellesley, Massachusetts to deliver the first commencement speech by a student in school history. With her hair tucked away in a neat bun and Lennon-esque glasses affixed over her bright eyes, this young woman delivered one of the most poignant addresses of our time.
As you well know, Mrs. Clinton, this young woman is you. What you don’t know is it wasn’t until 26 years after you delivered that speech that I was born, yet I can envision it as if I were sitting in the front row.
Just as I fondly remember this moment, I remember hearing about the tenacious young lawyer, fresh out of Yale who made it her lifelong mission to learn and serve simultaneously as she took her first job at the Children’s Defense Fund. I remember learning of the humble professor rooted in Arkansas who served as the chairperson of the state’s Rural Health Advisory Committee, bringing healthcare to those in hard to reach areas.
I’ve long heard stories of the honorable First Lady, who dreamt of and developed a plan of healthcare for all; whose commitment to her cause was profound, but her resiliency in the face of defeat proved to be even more remarkable. Here, Mrs. Clinton, you continued on to gift healthcare to 8 million kids with the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
I remember being 6 years old when two towers fell on September 11 and watching our nation mourn on a television set at our local middle school where my mom worked. In the face of insurmountable adversity, I remember a bold senator from the State of New York who was instrumental in cultivating legislation which would serve those first responders as the first step in healing the hearts, minds, and structure of a crippled nation.
I remember a proven and beloved state senator, who announced her candidacy for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in 2008. Although she didn’t win that bid, she cast aside her pride to serve us as an exemplary Secretary of State.
While your long list of accomplishments is both endearing and incredible, Mrs. Clinton, I must admit that my favorite memory of you came this week.
On the evening of November 8, 2016, I was disheartened and stunned. The next morning, as sure as the sunrise, you emerged — brighter, stronger, and more devoted than before.
I never imagined I could be so proud and humbled to watch a woman who has given her life to the service of others address a weeping crowd. Rather than expressing defeat, she brought forth wisdom, solidarity, and elegance. She stood humbled, but her voice rang with poignance and prosperity. She advertised a resolute spirit fueled by her unwavering respect for our democracy, while commanding respect and support for our newly elected president. She was an American, who proved her continued commitment to her people.
Over the last 18 months, she met scrutiny with compassion. In times of grave hardship and misfortune, she has been a champion for forward progress. She has been a doer; a thinker; and a solver. Above all, she has been a woman of faith; a woman of love; and a woman of hope.
Mrs. Clinton, words could never thank you enough for what you’ve done for our nation. In addition to bringing pantsuits back, you have shown us how to love without apology and how to keep an open mind. You have shown us that our differences are strengths, not pitfalls. You have shown us that a life without learning is no life at all. You have shown us that pride in this great nation is of immense value. Most notably, you have shown us that our remedy lies in compassion and nobility.
A recurring theme throughout your campaign, a feature of your Methodist faith, was this:
Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, for as long as you can.
While it was my hope that we would spend the next four years living this mantra with you, those of us you’ve impacted will do so for you. Not just today or over the next four years, but over the course of our lives, for you have shown us the greater meaning of community and country.
Although we didn’t shatter that highest glass ceiling, moderate Democrats like myself, as well as those more liberal, conservative, Republican, Libertarian, etc. are better people for the countless ceilings and expectations you’ve transcended along the way.
I doubt if you knew the path you were about to embark on when you took center stage at Wellesley’s podium all those years ago. In fact, I doubt you knew any of where your path might lead you, but you walked forward anyway with humility and grit. Each day, someone takes a leap of faith in the name of greater service, largely owed to the trail forged by your benevolence and fortitude.
From the bottom of my heart: thank you, Mrs. Clinton.