Our Letters To Hillary After The Election
By Establishment Staff
Since Election Day, we’ve been processing our feelings about Hillary Clinton’s loss — what it means, who’s to blame, where we go now. But while we’ve cried in each other’s arms and pointed fingers at one another and fought and called Congress and panicked and mourned together, few of us have had a chance to talk to the woman herself. Maybe it was hard to even imagine what we would say, besides “thank you” and “I’m sorry.”
But as the keen grief dims and we get galvanized for action, we do have messages for the strong, ambitious, flawed, savvy woman who now represents the opportunity we missed to avoid disaster. These letters share what we want her to know.
In the coming days, we’ll be adding to this list. If you have something to say to Hillary, you can share it with us at email@example.com (as always, we pay the writers we publish) — or just send it to her campaign headquarters: P.O. Box 5256, Brooklyn, New York 10185.
Dear Hillary, I Wanted You To Win, But Now I Want Something Bigger
“For years, the legend of your little-seen likable side was just that: a legend. A footnote on your legacy of machine politics, intended to soften your image in an environment not known for its portrayal or perception of women, and to humanize you once you earned your rightful win. But watching the outpouring of support from friends, family, and neighbors I couldn’t be bothered to befriend, I realized for the first time what I’d missed: building a community. It’s not that wanting to win isn’t a valid reason for participating; it’s that if you’re waiting for attrition to work its tenuous magic, you need a reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Your eyes may have been on the 1600 Pennsylvania prize, but your raison d’être wasn’t the win, or what you could do on a global scale from the office. It was a win for every single person you met on the way up: the aides, the constituents, the detractors. All the people you’d be representing had you become our president.”
Dear Hillary, I Hope My Daughter Grows Up Like You
“Her name is Noa, which means ‘movement’ in Hebrew, but Noa was also the first female land owner in the Bible. If she grows up to be half the tough, resilient, kind woman you are, we will be grateful. (We are, of course, already grateful and proud beyond measure — we are Jewish parents! — but now we can see how much is possible.) Watching you these last few years has shown me how to stand up — and to stay standing, no matter how much vitriol is thrown my way. It’s shown me that while I can’t protect my daughter from this (increasingly terrifying) world we live in, I can teach her to hold her ground, to love herself, to march on.”
Dear Hillary, You Betrayed Me, But I Admire You
“Hillary, I do not and would not ever blame you for all the woes of the U.S.A. You take some fault that isn’t yours. You are greatly criticized for your husband’s decisions, more than even your husband. You are criticized for decisions made by a presidency that wasn’t even yours, and gosh-darn-it, EMAILS! If I wrote you an ode, I’d sing of your valiance — how you, in many senses, have been the mule of American politics for decades. You fought your way into politics despite your husband’s impeachment. You fought your way into the Senate, into the presidential cabinet, and you ran for president and lost twice.
For many, that would be humiliating, but for me it only proves to me your tenaciousness, that even in the face of that failure and embarrassment, you got your ass up and you tried again.”
Dear Hillary, You Are Every Strong Woman, And This Was Every Woman’s Fight
“I am 24 years old, and I am beginning to realize the power of my voice. I do my best to use it to lift others up and think of your composure when I am shouted down. You have weathered far worse storms than these, and far more frequently.
You are every strong woman in my life, Hillary Clinton. You have broken immense ground for us. I look forward to making you proud.”
Dear Hillary, We Are Just Getting Started
“Like millions of others, I am going through the stages of grief. I don’t believe I will make it through them all, having chosen, quite deliberately, to stay firmly in the stage of blinding white-hot anger. This anger isn’t the rash kind, or the loud kind, or the one that’s infused with contempt or hatred. It is patient, persistent, and bottomless. It’s not explosive, but slow and simmering. It’s the kind that I like to imagine you have channeled into decades of work, compromise, and — so very disturbing to so very many people — ambition.”
Lead image: Unsplash/Aaron Burden