I know you didn’t vote for Hillary because she was a woman. I know you didn’t vote for her because she was a perfect candidate. I know you didn’t vote for her because her every policy lined up with your every belief, or because her every decision mirrored what you yourself would have chosen.
Instead, you voted for her because the thing you believe in most in the world is taking care of other people.
As a teacher, you spent your entire career—and have spent much of your “retirement”—doing it. You’ve looked over countless children—some of whom had already come so far and some of whom were already so lost—and you did everything you could to teach them the skills they would need to find their way and keep moving forward. You taught them to read books and think about how the words made them feel. You taught them to add numbers and think about the countless opportunities such a skill would afford them. You taught them how, in a room full of different colors and backgrounds and religions and home lives and stories, they could still find that the person to their left and their right was just like they were.
As a sister and a friend, there have been countless times when you’ve given more than you’ve gotten. When you’ve struggled to understand the choices those closest to you have made, but have made every effort to remain supportive regardless. When you’ve dropped everything to be there, to support, to encourage, to help—not because anyone asked you to, but because you love being a friend and to you, that’s what being a friend means.
As a curious and intelligent mind, you’ve overseen and moderated thankless debates around your dinner table. You’ve proven that your loyalty will always be to what’s right for the people around you, even if it means changing your mind or conceding a point or challenging yourself over a long-held belief. You are not, and never will be, hesitant to swallow your pride or say you’re sorry, but you will not, and never could, allow your vulnerability to be mistaken for weakness. Compromise is not the same as sacrifice, and you taught me that.
As a strong and courageous person, you’ve never hesitated to use your voice to speak for others. To disagree, openly and intensely, with those who would seek to limit the freedoms and rights of anyone different from them. To explain, patiently, that who a person loves could never make them lesser. That what God a person worships should never make them an enemy. That what a person looks like is no measure of who they are. That where a person came from says nothing about who they could become.
As my comfort these past few days, you’ve cried with me. You’ve shared my disappointment, even as you wished you could take it away. You’ve allowed me to be scared, to be upset; you’ve given me your permission to drink more wine.
You did not vote for Hillary because she is a mother, you voted for her because you are.
As a woman—as a daughter—I am not hopeful yet. But because I am a woman you raised—because I am your daughter—I will feel hopeful again.