Dear Secretary Clinton,
I’ve grown up with you, your husband was my first vote in a presidential election – in ANY election. I hit the button for his name the November I was 18, and then punched blue buttons all the way down ballot. I watched you navigate the trolls telling you how to dress, and I was still too young to know what that meant. I lived in the South when you said you wouldn’t be like Tammy Wynett and “stand by your man” and kinda winced when you said that, and at the same time thought, “well, hell yes, speak that truth!” I was confused when you started wearing soft pink clothes, and when you gave out a cookie recipe. It was much later that I understood this was a strategy to hide your light under a bushel, so to speak. To be palatable in the mid-nineties. I kept growing with you, and seeing your ascent. I have to admit, I lost track of you when you went on up to New York. But I voted for you in the primary in 2008, and mourned when you didn’t get the nomination. I gave a silent scream of “YES” when you became Secretary of State.
And then. I was not new in my career anymore, and I’d taken a professional risk, and the aftermath was crushingly hard. I was firm in my conviction, but thin in support around me. And it was when you were going through one of the endless Benghazi hearings. I was in a coffee shop trying to do some work, and the hearing was on the TV. I just stopped working and watched you. I watched you handle those men. I saw when you spoke with depth of knowledge. I noticed when you were frustrated with questions that showed the asking committee member’s ignorance. I perked up when you let a little bit of that bite come into your answers. And that day, it was such an ordinary day. I thought “Dear Lord, Ariel. If Hillary Clinton can handle the Benghazi hearings with that kind of poise, you can manage through this.”
You gave me courage and strength. You taught me how to be a warrior. I am eternally grateful to you for that day. That memory has gotten me through many a difficult and dark day in my career. And then you stopped being my Secretary of State. I never wavered in my support of you. From the moment you even started hinting of a run, I was with you. I was never lured by Bernie. I love Bernie’s politics. But honestly, a friend said it best: “I’m tired of being told what to do by old angry white men, even if that old angry white man is Bernie Sanders.” I wanted YOU. You who are smarter by forever than the men you had to placate, had to make feel less inferior. I wanted you because you are eloquent, and you’re a planner, and you have a God-given patience that the Good Lord did not see fit to gift me.
Secretary Clinton, watching you run a campaign so smoothly, with such professionalism. I am so grateful to you, and I am so sorry our country doesn’t get to experience you at the helm. What I can say is that this has shown me the work I need to do for my country. I need to talk to my white sisters about feminism, and for heaven’s sake, feminism has to be intersectional in a way that includes poor and working-class women. I’ll work on this. I need to remember my raising. I need to listen more, to be more present. To get my damn face out of my phone. Secretary Clinton, I’ve grown up with you. And on Wednesday, after a day I spent crying about every hour, I watched your speech. And it was stunning. So I keep growing with you, because you are not done. I know you will keep working for us and with us. And Secretary Clinton, I am honored to have pushed that button in that booth. It was exhilarating. It was liberating. It is not the end of this journey.