An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

Dear Hillary,

The glass ceiling may have failed to break open Tuesday night, but my faith in the American people shattered into a million pieces that seemed to fall everywhere– my house, my school, my neighborhood, my city, haunting me.  As I saw the electoral votes tally up, my stomach progressively became more and more squeamish, until it finally gave way to an abyss of tears that shone on my face for nearly 2 hours. As an American girl of Indian heritage living in a liberal city, I was rooting for you with every ounce of my heart, my strength, my will. I cannot say that I was not disappointed when I viewed the results–in fact, the full weight of these recent events still hasn’t set in. However, I would like to make one thing very clear– I am in no way disappointed in you or the things you have done for this country and its people.

Qualified. Prepared. Hard-working. On November 8, I learned that these characteristics may not lead you to presidency. Racist. Misogynistic. Xenophobic. On November 8, I learned that these characteristics actually helped him to secure the position of the world’s most influential leader. The injustice of it all struck me — you relentlessly work to better this nation for 30 years; he brags about sexual assault. You advocate equality for all; he berates every social group in America with the exception of white males. You are supported by countless world leaders, celebrities, and good-hearted people; he is endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. These stark juxtapositions confound me, but what bewilders me most of all– he will be our next President and you will not. The shock of it is impossible to absorb, but at the same time, know that you have something he will never attain– my respect. A respect that you garnered from me back in 2008, when I was just 8 years old, wide-eyed and hopeful; a respect that has strengthened year after year in seeing your dedication and resilience; a respect that grew when I saw you passionately counter his racist, sexist, and xenophobic ideals. In history books, you will be revered and venerated; he will not. Somehow, the American people found it acceptable to excuse all of his moral misgivings and hand him the most coveted position in the world. I will try to accept him as our President in the name of unity but I know I will still look to you in times of trouble, because it is you, and not him, who has inspired me to persevere through failure, to dedicate myself wholeheartedly to everything I believe in, and most of all, to never accept limitations.

I am glad that you ran. I am glad because you have helped to expose the underlying misogyny that taints the inclusive image of this nation. Because you ran, I learned that there are still people who genuinely believe a woman is not fit for presidency, and even girls in my own high school question a woman’s ability to lead the country. Because of the campaign, I learned that many people, women included, are willing to excuse even utmost degradation in the form of sexual assault. I learned that inequality between genders and races is not a thing of the past, but rather an urgent issue of the present. This election has shown me how far from perfect the country I once believed to be the land of tolerance really is, and how much work we still have ahead of us in improving education systems to not only include reading and writing but to also encompass ideas of perspective, open-mindedness, acceptance, and equality.

I am glad that you ran. I am glad because you provided me and young girls everywhere with a role model like no other. While he portrayed women as inferior and reduced us to simply our bodies, you gave us a perfect example of the polar opposite. You rose through the political sphere not by being “fun”, or “cute”, or “silly”, but by being focused, strong, and intelligent. You showed me that women deserve to hold themselves in the highest regard and to reach for power because we, too, are meant to be leaders. Watching your concession speech today brought back the persistent waterworks, but this time the tears of sadness were intertwined with tears of pride and hope. You apologized for the loss, but to me, you have nothing to be sorry for– the result was more or less inevitable considering tensions that have risen from the silent majority. In fact, I found myself admiring you once again for your composure and eloquent words. You say that you will never give up fighting for what is right, and that is a sentiment we should all carry with us going forward. The inevitable has occurred and the country is more divided than ever. However, it is in times like these that I realize that there are compassionate and resolute people in this world who will never let America fall to ruins but instead help facilitate this nation toward the embracing, inclusive, and diverse home we all envision it to be. Although the glass ceiling may not have shattered, thank you for making a crack in it so deeply entrenched with the hope of girls everywhere that one stretch of our fingertips will someday send it exploding into oblivion once and for all. Thank you for being an inspiration to a 16 year old girl from Texas. Thank you for being a champion for us all. Thank you for everything.


Sanika Nayak