An American Tragedy: Why I’m Crying Over Clinton

I have a confession to make; I have yet to watch Hillary Clinton’s concession speech, and I don’t think I will be able to anytime soon. I know, or can guess, what she said, having read excerpts here and there. Love and accept one another; thank you for supporting me; we are stronger together. But what hurts me are the words she didn’t say — the words she couldn’t say: what the hell were you thinking, America?

Because we didn’t just elect one of the worst candidates in our nation’s history, we also failed to elect one of the best.

To understand what we have now, we must first understand what we lost. Again and again, Clinton fought to make this a better America for all Americans — not just those who looked or thought like her: we lost a champion for social and economic progress. Again and again, Clinton countered baseless attacks with grace and grit: we lost a model for profound character.

Of course, I am doubtful that Clinton will disappear from the public sphere altogether, and I am optimistic that history books will look upon her accomplishments with the recognition they deserve, but last Tuesday, as a nation, we made a choice, and we chose against hard work, experience, intellect, passion, and heart.

As seems to be the case for many on our campus, for me, this election is personal. I watched Clinton’s speeches; I read her policies; I listened to her debate. And for the first time in my life, I felt connected to and inspired by the words of a political figure.

The sad thing is that the woman who made me start loving America lost to the man who fosters a hatred of the things that make America, America. And that broke my heart.

I am in favor of moving forward from this election. Undoubtedly, we need to come together and heal the wounds that divide us. But we also need to remember this failure, because regret fuels action.

In our attempt to fight against the racist, sexist, xenophobic legacy of Trump’s campaign, we must not forget the warm, hopeful, inclusive message Clinton emanated. In our attempt to prevent our worst fears for a Trump presidency from becoming reality, we must not forget that Clinton fought for our greatest dreams.

I’m (still) with her.

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