An Open Letter To Secretary Clinton

Illustrated by Autumn Whitehurst.
Clare Doody is a speechwriter at West Wing Writers in Washington, D.C. The views expressed are her own. Dear Secretary Clinton, Thank you. Thank you for your service, your strength, your compassion, your dogged preparation, and your quiet discipline. Thank you for your advocacy for women and girls here and around the globe, your insistence that Black lives matter, and your respect for the role immigrants of all religions have played in all aspects of this great American experiment. Thank you for showing us that a woman can compete for the country’s highest office without ever going low — and that strong men can work for, vote for, and share the ticket with strong women. Thank you for your passionate defense of abortion rights voiced without apology or equivocation. Thank you for recognizing the everyday battles women are fighting for equality at home and at work and telling them, “I see you.” Secretary Clinton, we saw you, too. Thank you for being our champion. Thank you for telling little girls that they are valuable and powerful and deserving. You shouldn’t have had to, but thank you, anyway. Thank you for shimmying. Thank you for maintaining that pragmatism and idealism are not mutually exclusive. That we protect and advance our highest principles by writing them into strong, progressive policies. Thank you for laughing when they said you had too many plans.

Thank you for telling little girls that they are valuable and powerful and deserving.

Thank you for fully understanding the awesome, unglamorous, and deeply humbling responsibilities of the presidency — and offering us four years of yourself anyway. Thank you for what you did yesterday morning: summoning courage and smiles, comforting your supporters, congratulating your opponent, and conceding this race you fought so hard and so honorably for so long. Thank you for legitimizing his victory without normalizing his departure from the civil discourse we expect and deserve. Thank you for putting our constitutional democracy and the peaceful transfer of power it enshrines above all else. It was the thing that had to be done and only you could do it. Thank you for rising to the occasion, as always. Most importantly, thank you for not waiting a single day after our devastating night to reaffirm your deep faith in all that is best about America — and your fierce belief that the promise of this country is a promise to all of us.

Now, here’s a promise from us: Nothing ends here.

It was such an honor to vote for you. Now, here’s a promise from us: Nothing ends here. Here’s what I know. Somewhere out there, a young woman listened to your speech yesterday with careful attention. You may not have known you were talking to her, but she did. She heard you urge her to “never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth it” and agreed that what is right is “building an America that is hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted.” She shared your optimism when you promised that our best days are still ahead. And she will remember your words in four or eight or 12 or 16 years when she is elected president of the United States. When she gets there, it will be because the cracks you worked so hard to put in that highest, hardest glass ceiling will ensure the light shines down to guide her way. Thank you for getting us this far.

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