I’m Still With Her
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The 2016 election season will always be remembered for the level at which many citizens were emotionally invested in their chosen presidential candidate’s campaign. On the night of the election, President Barack Obama reminded the nation, “We’ve been through tough and divisive elections before, and we’ve always come out stronger for it…no matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning, and American will still be the greatest nation on Earth.” The morning following the election was one that, for many, was filled with despair, confusion, and anger. Americans live in a nation that has consistently been successful in the peaceful transition of power, and on Wednesday, Nov. 9, Hillary Clinton protected this function in our democracy when she conceded the presidential race to Donald Trump.
Say what you will about our democratic system, I personally find it difficult to support a system that can elect a candidate who did not win the majority of the populace’s vote. Many others agree; according to the US National Archives, there have been over 700 proposals in Congress relating to the reform of the Electoral College since it was founded. But for the time being, the Electoral College is a part of our nation’s democracy. And time after time, this democracy has been protected by our nation’s leaders and public figures. We saw this protection in 2000, when Democratic Nominee Al Gore conceded, as he said, “For the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy.” We saw this protection once again in this year’s election, “Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it,” said Clinton in her concession speech. In the face of a disappointing end to an unconventional election season, Clinton modeled what we should see in our nation’s leaders: composure, humility, and respect.
The most moving portion of Clinton’s concession speech was her direct address to the young women of America. “To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable, and powerful, and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams,” said Clinton. After hearing these words, the true immensity of everything Clinton had accomplished hit me. Her drive to make the changes in which she believed, and fight every obstacle in her way, made me realize that I have the power and the responsibility to define and accomplish my own goals. Maybe Clinton didn’t shatter the country’s highest glass ceiling, but she sure put a hell of a crack in it. And now that crack is visible to every young girl in America, and like any good battle scar, it will remind those future leaders that they have the power to finish the job.
In the coming months, Americans will take on a new form of unity. We will continue the struggle for improvement in our government. We will call out for reform of the election process. But at the same time, we will remember that our system is envied because, as Clinton demonstrated, our leaders respect and follow the system’s rules despite its flaws. So let’s find the flaws in this system and use our democracy to make changes. As Clinton said, “Our campaign was never about one person, or even one election. It was about the country we love and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big hearted.” It is now our responsibility to pursue the values for which Clinton campaigned over the past year and a half. The values of the Clinton campaign have not gone away; there’s still work to be done.