Dear Mrs. Hillary Clinton,
Before I begin, I have to get something off my chest:
I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary.
Let me explain: I’m a millennial. A millennial from a very liberal county in California, attending college at an even more liberal university in Massachusetts. I voted for Bernie because, like many other students my age, I found his rousing message of a call to action – a revolution – refreshing, sincere, and promising. I thought he was the candidate with the best chance of defeating Trump. In fact, I thought he was the only candidate capable of defeating Trump. For this mindset, I would like to sincerely apologize. Yes, Donald Trump won. But nevertheless, you proved me wrong. You taught me a lesson that Bernie, even if he had won, couldn’t have taught me or the other women across the nation. You were the most qualified and most dedicated candidate we could have hoped for. I’m sorry I didn’t see it sooner.
Wednesday morning felt like a horrible, inescapable nightmare. I walked around campus in a haze, shocked and confused by our country’s decision. When students asked one another how they were doing, it was, for maybe the first time, sincere. None of us were okay. None of us saw this coming. None of us thought his message of hate would win. As a woman, I was terrified. If Hillary Clinton can’t push past the sexism, how can anyone?
But later that day, you delivered a speech that only a person with the utmost morals and character could give. You said – and it’s engrained so deeply into my mind that I don’t have to look up the transcript to remember – that little girls everywhere should “never doubt that [they] are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve [their] own dreams.” It stood out to me, and I remember these words now and for forever, because on November 9, 2016, after Donald J. Trump was announced as the 45th president of the United States, I felt like a little girl. A little girl scared to face the world by myself. But you consoled me, and millions of others feeling the exact same way, by reminding us that it’s all going to be okay because there are fighters like you in the world. Fighters like you who give us a voice and make our presence unforgettable and impossible to ignore. Fighters like you who encourage others to become fighters for equality and justice.
I was reminded of when I really was a little girl, when my mom would pester me to write all of my relatives thank you letters for the gifts I received over the holidays. So, although it’s not quite the holidays yet, you’ve given me an invaluable gift that I must thank you for the only way I know how: a good, old-fashioned thank you letter.
Thank you for giving me purpose, and through purpose, confidence. A self-confidence I really never thought I’d have. A self-confidence that doesn’t actually seem possible with a president-elect who brags about sexual assault, rates women’s appearances on a numerical scale, makes fun of disabled people, and openly discriminates against other races and religions. In the face of a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, hateful man, you stood with grace, poise, and tenacity. Despite the abuse, despite the relentless lies and name-calling, you never wavered. For all those times you were brave in the name of our freedom and our country and our rights, I promise that I will try to be brave back. That, Hillary (can I call you Hillary?), is the very least you deserve.
In your concession speech, you apologized for not winning the election. Hillary, please don’t apologize. We are the ones who should apologize to you. We, the people of the United States, are the ones who should be sorry. I am so sorry your country failed you. I am so sorry the country unified under a message of hate and oppression. You did everything you could. I recognize that, and I’m forever appreciative of your fight.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reminding me that, although I am not a “10” in Donald’s book, and although our country isn’t ready to shatter the glass ceiling that hovers over every woman like ruthless reminder of our “value,” I am capable of making a difference. I am a woman, and I can make a change. I am young, and I can make a change. What I do matters. Whether I stay or leave this country to continue spreading your message of love and acceptance matters. I promise you that I will not apply for Canadian citizenship, I will not flee to New Zealand – I will stay right here in the country you fought so hard for, and I will continue your fight. Your fight, your persistence, your determination, your strength, and your compassion is a reminder that our country will always have love. In the end, love will always win. Love will trump hate. And we are forever grateful to you for showing us the way.
A nasty woman