When I previewed this prompt for National Blog Posting Month, I assumed – like most Americans – that this would be a response addressing her as the first female President of the United States.
That didn’t happen.
Clinton couldn’t gain the trust she needed despite her qualifying lifelong career in public service and even-keeled temperament. She became the face of the political establishment during an era of anti-establishment. There is nothing she could have done differently. Of the some 60 percent of voters who admitted Trump was ill-tempered and lacking experience, a whopping 2o percent of them voted for him anyway.
To me, that doesn’t speak to a win for Trump or a loss for Clinton. It speaks to a broken country with one foot forward and one foot in the past.
Despite this upset, Clinton managed to grace her exit with an emotional speech that was somehow empowering during a time of divide and uncertainty. These words have stuck with me:
“We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America, and I always will …
… I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks. Sometimes, really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your professional, public, and political careers—you will have successes and setbacks too. This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is, it is worth it.
… Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day someone will—and hopefully sooner than we might think right now. And to all of 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.
And I still believe, as deeply as I ever have, that if we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, strengthen our convictions, and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.”
This hope is all we have as we begin to bridge the divide. She may not have broken the glass ceiling or brought her ideals of progress into action, but she did stand up for these ideals and values – to a chauvinistic bully, at that – during a time when they are most threatened in our lives. And that is still impactful, whether you trusted her or not.
For that, I say thank you, Hillary.