I watched your concession speech first thing this morning, as soon as I woke up. I didn’t think that I could, or that I would, but I did — alone, on my phone, with sleep still in my eyes. I watched as you so graciously asked us all, in the midst of our shock and disbelief, to give this new world we have found ourselves in a chance. To give this man — our president-elect — who had become the face of so many of our deepest fears, the benefit of our doubts and the chance to try, just maybe, to lead us forward. And then I watched you plead with us to remember, even now, that fighting for what we believe in will always be worth the pain of sometimes falling short.
This, by the way, is when I broke. When I went from silent, prickly tears to full-on sobbing alone in my bed. I was 4 years old when you stepped in front of the U.N. Conference on Women and told the world that women’s rights were human rights. I was 8 years old when CHIP was passed, thanks largely to your relentless advocacy. You’ve, quite literally, believed in me since before I even knew how to.
So yeah, I lost it.
But you didn’t. Even with your husband and your male running mate* standing behind you with tears filling their eyes, you firmly insisted to today’s generation of little girls that they are valuable, and powerful, and that they deserve every opportunity to be anything they want to be — even in the face of failure. There’s no crying in baseball. Not for us. Not today.
I have never felt more embarrassed, more sorry, than I did this morning. You deserved so much better from us.
You deserved a race based on issues, based on intelligent, heated political debate. You deserved an opponent with actual plans, with policies, with the well-being of their supporters sewn deeply into their convictions — the very definition of a public servant. You deserved a presidential race that we would look back on and understand as a battle of ideas, head-to-head — maybe not ending the way we’d hoped, but still befitting of the great democracy we call America.
And yes, even then the outcome may still have remained the same. You still very well may have been standing there on that stage asking us to remain hopeful and optimistic in the face of defeat.
But maybe, then, we would all at least feel a little more worthy of our angry wounds once they eventually fade into battle scars.
Because instead, you got every morsel of our country’s shame on full display. We gave you bigotry, we gave you racism, and we gave you every single reason it took until now for a woman to gain a major presidential nomination, all boiled down into a single man. And then we fed it. We legitimized it. We sacrificed you to the shameful enjoyment of watching a car crash over and over again, just to see how long it could burn before it would explode. We diminished the most American thing we have to a primetime soap opera, and then acted as though this election was just an 8-episode season finale arc. “There’s no way the good guys don’t win,” we thought, “we’ve already been picked up for another season.”** But the good guys are never perfect, and try as we might, America just couldn’t put that into perspective. Even for you. Even for this.
And even then. EVEN THEN. Against every single one of those odds, and despite every single extra lap you had to run against a cartoon caricature of America, thanks to you we are now merely one heavy freaking pebble away from busting through that dusty glass for good. Even if it should have been you that broke it in the first place.
You deserved so much more from us.
So no, you will not be a footnote in my history, and you will not be a footnote in this country’s history. Know that while we may deserve every opportunity to be whatever we want to be, now — oh, now — we are damn well going to FIGHT to be worthy of having had you as our champion.
This isn’t over. It’s always worth the pain, remember? And we know what we believe in.
We saw it on that stage this morning.
The rest of the 53%.
*By the way, I am so sad that this sweet, goofy dad will not get to be my vice president, but maybe I’ll write him that letter someday.
**I’m sorry, I work in television. This is just the way we think.