"To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion."
It's an absolute feat to win a party nomination in the presidential race, and the fact that we had our first female major party candidate in the history of the United States was meant to inspire courage in all of us. Because we, as females, were all once there: little girls with big hearts, dreaming of accomplishing the extraordinary. We learned to construct our lives around ourselves and our pursuits. And to have Hillary Clinton represent us as a symbol of power, guided by a hope for the future and a strong-willed persona, was something that was supposed to prove to us and our childhood selves that a woman really can be as influential as a man.
But instead, we have stumbled upon a truth that we've been trying so hard to suppress, to stifle in the hopes that we may be wrong.
And that truth is this: America still isn't ready to accept a female leader. India, Israel, the UK, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Pakistan, Germany, South Korea and many more, were all ready years ago to have a woman governing their country. But yet, the United States, which we so blatantly proclaim to be the most "progressive" country, proved to us again that sexism is much too deeply rooted in our country to allow a confident woman with 30 years of political experience become our president.
Clinton delivered her concession speech last Wednesday, wrapping up her campaign as graciously as she started it. Wearing a purple pantsuit, perhaps symbolizing the unity of the Democratic and Republican parties, the former nominee delivered an inspirational speech about her unwavering belief in the nation and belief in women, mainly young women, and their success.
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(Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
As taken as I was with her empowering words, something didn't quite sit right. And that something was a line from her speech that I and countless other women have been unable to forget. Because it hits us a little too close to home.
"I’m sorry that we did not win this election."
Apologizing is something a woman learns to do from early in life, a sort of entry point into a basic affirmative sentence. Like it's polite for us to blame ourselves for matters beyond our control. Of course, this is true for men as well, but it seems to be a more prevalent stereotype in women. A candidate apologizing for a loss is practically unheard of in United States history. And yet here our first female nominee was, saying sorry to her supporters for letting them down. For not proving to them that she could make their dreams a reality. And most of all, for loosing to the face of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and more.
But in reality, Hillary Clinton has nothing to be sorry for. She carried her campaign with finesse despite her setbacks, confessed to her controversies, and presented herself as a worthy role model. She advocated for women and girls here and around the globe, she vowed that all sexualities and orientations were valid, she insisted that Black lives do matter, and she displayed respect for the role immigrants of all religions play in this American experiment of different societies all enmeshed into one.
So to Hillary Clinton, I sincerely thank you for your elegant campaign. Thank you for all of your efforts to make our voices heard and for fulfilling the responsibility to address the concerns of the developing generation.
Thank you for encouraging us with the words, "I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will and hopefully sooner than we think right now. To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams."
Regardless of who won the election, this was a loss for our country. This was a brazen declaration to women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and disabled people that there are millions of Americans that couldn't care less about them. This is the reality of the country that we'll have to face for 4 years, but we will come back from it. Stronger than ever before, stronger together.
Regardless of the results of the election and what our society may pressure you to believe, your race, sexuality, gender, religion, and condition are valid and worthy of respect. You are worthy of respect.
All my love,