I hope it’s okay that we are on a first name basis. I prayed with all of my might that I would be able to type “Madame President” today, but, as my parents taught me from a young age, we can’t always have everything we want in life. So, Hillary it is.
Here we are, the day after election day. November 9, 2016. I am having some trouble sorting through my thoughts and my emotions. Writing always seems to help me in these times and who better to pen a letter to than the woman I was (and still am) rooting for over the past few months?
I confess. I knew in the pit of my stomach that it was over – that he had won, as soon as the Florida race became nail-biting close. By the way, I got a manicure on Saturday. In retrospect, that was a poor decision.
I went to bed at 10:30pm last night. CNN was causing me too much anxiety to continue watching the election coverage and the results rolling in. You are a brave, brave woman for enduring the entire evening. I once thought I wanted to be a politician, maybe even POTUS, as a young girl. Now I realize I do not have the resolve nor the strength to do such a thing. You amaze me. But I digress.
I awoke at 1am, (unfortunately) checked the news and lay frozen in bed, praying with all of my might that you – that WE – would somehow pull off an election night miracle. Was this really happening? 3am rolled around and I cried. I cried out of disappointment. I cried for my grandmothers who would have been so proud to have a woman running for the highest office in the land. I cried for all of the young girls who wore pant suits yesterday and for the glass ceiling that was left unshattered and because I was damn tired of this election cycle. But mostly I cried because my worst fear had become real – Hate, HATE had won the election of United States of America.
I awoke this morning with a grief I have (thankfully) only experienced a few times in my life. It’s the type of grief that comes when a loved one passes. I didn’t expect to feel this way. Honestly, I didn’t expect the election results to turn out how they did but even then, I have never once felt this emotion outside of a death-related situation. I feel gut punched. I am in disbelief. I am scared. The more I think about it, the more I believe that I am grieving a false ideology I had about the citizens of our great country. I never once thought there was so much hatred. So much racism. So much misogyny. So much prejudice. So much ignorance.
How naive must I be!
Let me tell you a little about my day, Hillary.
I wanted to curl up in a hole, stay deep under the covers and pray that this was all a dream. But, as you can relate, I am a mama and there are no sick days in motherhood. My husband wanted to talk about the election before he left for work, but I told him I couldn’t handle it at the moment. I had a lump in my throat. As I fed my son breakfast, I messaged a few friends and was shocked to find I wasn’t the only one with this sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. I scrolled through that secret Facebook group you mentioned in your speech. If anything, that provided relief that I wasn’t alone in this mess.
I am a fitness director at a local gym and on Wednesday mornings at 8am I teach a killer spin class. (If you’re ever in Naples, please join me!) The LAST thing I thought I could do this morning was perform in front a fitness class. But I am a woman and we somehow always manage to pull our shit together and get done what needs to be done. I dropped my son off at daycare, allowed myself to lose it in the bathroom for 15 seconds, and then walked into class and I OWNED it. It was probably one of the best classes I have taught in a long time and my voice only cracked once. It was for you.
I somehow managed to make it through a meeting and the rest of my day without breaking down in public. After work I called my dad. I had texted him in the morning and told him I was struggling with the election and needed some words of encouragement. I think I managed to sputter, “I just don’t understand why I am feeling this way…” before totally losing it on the drive home. Thank goodness my son was asleep in his car seat. Our conversation reassured me that I was not alone. That the world is not ending. That our country has made faulty decisions in the past and yet we are still the greatest nation in the world. That we need to be vigilant and be the change we want to see.
For the first time in my life, I woke up thankful to be white this morning. How disgusting is that thought? I am repulsed just typing it in this letter. I have never been fearful due to the color of my skin. My son will have privileges afforded to him because he is white and he is male. My job of teaching him the importance of kindness, acceptance, inclusiveness, and love is even more important now. He needs to grow up understanding that diversity is what makes this country great and that he has a great responsibility to show respect for all kinds of people, not just people that happen to look and act like him.
Your concession speech this morning brought tears to my already tearful eyes. You apologized to us. But Hillary, that is what we do as women when something goes wrong – even if it isn’t our fault, we apologize. I know you feel as if you let us down. You most definitely did not. While you weren’t the perfect candidate (no offense – I never fully agree with any political candidate and we are all only human after all), you inspired young girls, professional women, mothers, grandmothers. You inspired and gave hope to my gay friends, to college men and women, to anyone who has ever aspired to do something and were told no.
I am not upset with the Trump supporters. I firmly believe everyone has a right to their own opinion and while I vehemently disagree with their beliefs and do not believe they accurately represent our country, I respect their decision. I am, however, extremely disappointed that so many people support hate. And I do not believe that hate, disrespect, ignorance or fear will ever rule this great nation.
Tomorrow will be a new day. I pray that as the grief subsides, we will stay united as a nation. That we will provide hope for our future.
I want to challenge you, Hillary. I want to challenge you and my fellow nasty women to take a step back and look at the broader picture. What can we do to make our world a better place TODAY? How can we show that love does indeed rule our land? And as 2020 approaches (and I pray it arrives sooner rather than later), I hope that we have a game plan in place to defeat hate. To defeat racism. To move forward, not backwards. To show our young girls and boys that kindness truly matters.
Thank you for listening and thank you for all you have done for this great country of ours.
Ms. Rebecca Klapman
Wife. Mother. Christian. Healthy Living Advocate. Animal Lover. Florida Resident (I’m sorry). Chicago Cubs Fan. Citizen of the United States of America.