first published on great weather for MEDIA
Dear Hillary Rodham Clinton,
I’ve been gulping oxygen as though it were chocolate chip cookies, reminding myself to inhale then exhale because it can be easy to forget to breathe in a time like this. Of course I knew a woman could be president, it’s just that I kept watching more doors get built just to slam in their faces and I wondered if I could call myself something else in order to be more heard. It should have been you. No one ever asks a man to smile more or coif their hair in a way that is more “attractive” or dress in a way to lure more eyes or or or… Everyone lies. It’s not that I want to “escape” to Canada, it’s just that I want to live in a place where I can be free and accepted without fear of my civil liberties challenged just for being gay. Just for being a woman. Just for being. It should have been you. I wasn’t supposed to still be here. I think about this every day that I wake. All those times I tried to push myself off this earth and here I am and they call me teacher. They listen when I guide their minds toward questioning what they read/what they learn. Each time I enter a classroom, I am reminded of why I stay here because these students (so many of whom are being told they aren’t “American enough”) impress me with their beautiful resilience. If a bully can win a job they are completely unqualified for, what does that teach us? When I was nineteen, I said it out loud for the first time. Called myself a lesbian because I thought that was the only word I had to choose from. Never expected to get married because I wasn’t allowed. Didn’t ever think I’d fall in love with someone who encouraged all my vocabularies and eccentricities. And then in June of 2015, suddenly I was told I could get married in any state and I started to feel safe again. But then North Carolina happened. And then and then and then this.
It should have been you, Hillary.
What to say to the person who is continually targeted just for being a woman. I want to tell you we need you now more than ever. I need to tell you that I am scared. For my students. For everyone who is being threatened with ‘a wall’. I want to tell you that amidst the false accusations and even some of the real ones, you made me believe in democracy again.