Dear Secretary Clinton,
You don’t know me but still, I hope you’ll get this letter. I have no expectation that my words are unique…even so, I have to write them. This is not a practical letter, nor is it relevant in any context but the emotional. I’m sitting at my computer typing this and crying hot, frustrated tears. My chest is burning on the inside, my hands are a little shaky, and my cheeks are bright red. The physical manifestations of intolerable injustice are wreaking havoc with my zen. So…I’m writing.
I’ve admired you my entire adult life. I was a new mother when you moved into the White House. I was a new mother, a new wife, alone in a country not my own, and surrounded by strangers. I was idealistic, puristic, and more than a little insufferable. Your example as First Lady played a significant role in helping me determine the kind of woman I wanted to be. You weren’t always perfect and oh how that liberated me from the idea that perfection was something to which I should even aspire. In fact, because of you I came to really like the imperfections. The flaws and the mistakes. Broken vessels are more beautiful for the mending. As Leonard Cohen says “cracks are how the light gets in”.
Last year I started reading Hard Choices. Right then I had some ‘hard choices’ of my own to make and the book title alone urged me to pass over others and dive directly into yours. Thank you for – albeit unknowingly – naming your book so perfectly for me. I’m not sure I would have learned as much or weathered as well my own storm if it were not for the inspiration I took from you.
As last year turned into this year I’ve been so proud to watch you campaign and ultimately attain victory after victory. From my home in the UK I’ve stayed up through the dark hours of the morning to watch you debate. I’ve gladly gone sleepless to see every primary/caucus result come in. I’ve cheered each win, regretted each loss, and like millions of Americans, your journey has become my journey. I’m emotionally invested in you.
Which brings me to the point of my letter. And why I’m writing it.
I don’t know how you’re holding up under the barrage of unjustified attacks that keep being thrown at you, under the smear and insinuation, the spin and the pressure…but I know it can’t be easy. To ‘keep your head when all around you are losing theirs’, to ‘rise up in spite of the ache’ takes so much grace, strength, and grit. Thankfully those are qualities you possess in abundance.
I want you to know that I see you. I see your courage. I see your resilience. And I am not alone. You are loved Secretary Clinton. You are respected. You are appreciated and admired and valued. Millions of people say #ImWithHer because you inspire passion and loyalty.
This morning I had a minor twitter argument with someone saying unkind things about you. It’s not the first time and it’s surely not the last and in the very wide context of all the things that go wrong in a day…it was trivial. But then I watched a Sunday news program and the trivial suddenly felt a lot less acceptable. And even before I engaged consciously my body reacted physically. There’s a fissure in my composure, a crack in my calm. And I want it to be useful.
If you read this, if it’s helpful…then the light gets in.
If instead of wrath we choose warmth.
If seething words are wasted and kind words multiply. Now that would be a revolution.
Kori Dryhurst Coates