I must admit I hesitated to even write this article. In the midst of all of my feelings about this nightmare of an election, one thing remains very clear: 2016 has been an incredibly divisive year for our nation. Watching the coverage on NBC in the early hours of November 9 broke me in a way I never could have anticipated.
Almost half the nation got the president-elect they wanted. I have been left like many others heartbroken, hopeless and struggling to cope.
I woke up early the morning of November 8, buzzing with excitement at the prospect of my first presidential election. Starting my day with a cup of hot coffee held by a mug emblazoned with the words “Nasty Women Make History”, I felt ready to cast my historic ballot and elect the first woman president.
To be clear, I was not voting for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman. I was voting for Hillary Clinton because the America she has described is the one I want to see. It’s true that the thought of electing our first female president with my first presidential vote set my feminist heart aflutter. But I believe you can appreciate the history of a moment without that being your reason for participating in it.
So sure that I was participating in that great historic triumph, I didn’t put my sticker on after casting my ballot. I planned to frame it. I wanted to hang it in a place of honor, waiting for the day when I could tell my future daughter that I was part of a group of like-minded Americans who, despite all odds, went out and elected the first female president.
As I brought the pen down to my ballot I thought of the women who fought and died for my right to vote less than one hundred years ago. I thought of the little girls to come after me who would never think for even a second that there was a single job they couldn’t pursue. I thought of the little boys who would grow up not questioning whether they should feel threatened or uncomfortable with the prospect of a woman in power.
This was the America I voted for—past, present and future—and I had never been prouder to be a woman in this great nation.
When I got home that night and turned on the coverage I grew nervous, but remained hopeful. The night wore on and my friends and I drank, trying to dull the nerves that came with watching the America we hoped for come tumbling down before our eyes. After they called it a night I sat in my living room alone, waiting with a heart full of dread for the final result.
I thought I would cry while I watched Trump say that Secretary Clinton, the woman I so desperately believed in, had called him to concede her defeat. Numb with the shock of what just occurred, I turned off my television and went to lay down. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried, or more accurately, sobbed violently for a solid 10 minutes, as the truth of what happened washed over me before I finally fell asleep.
I am still grieving over the loss of a future I longed for and believed in with my whole heart.
After watching Hillary’s concession speech yesterday evening though, I found some sliver of hope. This woman, who has been so abused by our country over the last 30 years but has never stopped trying to help us, still holds hope. She believes in our nation. Watching her speak with all of the poise and professionalism I have come to know her for throughout my life, I grew inspired yet again, not to change my ideology and profess my undying support for Donald Trump, but to believe this nation has the power to rise above hatred.
Hillary Clinton stepped back up on that last day to do what she has been doing through these last nightmarish months our country has shared: to give us hope. If she can still believe in the greatness of our nation in the light of such a heartbreaking loss, what reason do we have to give up?
I am still afraid, but I don’t believe it is hopeless.
I intend to devote these next four years to following the words of Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton when she said in her concession, “Please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
Voting for Hillary Clinton was one of the great joys of my life, watching her lose one of the most devastating, but we will soldier on. This nasty woman will always be with her. But more than that, I will stand with the vision of America she imparted upon me. We, the people, still have the power to decide what kind of country we want to live in. We get to do that every day. This election has divided us for the last year. Now it’s time to remind this nation that we will always be Stronger Together.