Dear Senator Warren,
You concluded your campaign for President today, and my heart swells with equal parts grief and gratitude. Grief for our loss of not having you as our Commander-in-Chief this year. Gratitude for all you’ve given us, our children, and our society.
We never needed a stand alone or self-proclaimed super hero for a President, the one mighty to save us and the only one strong enough to do it. We needed a team of heroes, each with different talents and backgrounds. You showed us what collaborative team leadership looks like, and never portrayed yourself as a savior, but as one who could bring talent together to solve problems.
Thank you for showing us what intersectional feminism looks like coming from the social location of a privileged, educated white woman. Thank you for leading by seeking diverse voices and incorporating them into your leadership teams in inclusive ways. Thank you for reaching out to people, for asking how you could best advocate for them, and then for doing all you could to honor the requests you received. The fact that so many minority leaders endorsed your candidacy must have meant you were good at listening, caring, and implementing. That’s a powerful example of political empathy.
Thank you for showing all the girls of today what capable, smart, organized, women can do, and what we can aspire to do even when the institutions discourage us. Thank you for showing us what fighting against a misogynistic system can look like, ways that we can be successful, and pitfalls we may not know are there. Thank you for showing us that despite our best ideas and best efforts, we aren’t guaranteed success but that it’s still worth it to try.
You showed us the potential of what compassionate leadership looks like when it’s disentangled from male ego and toxic masculinity.
Thank you for valuing education and for the ways you suggested we strengthen our education systems for all students from elementary to college. Thank you for creating brilliant plans, and then having the grit and determination to see them carried out.
I have admiration for your wisdom, grit, thoughtfulness and good humor. I’ve seen your gaffes, errors, and apologies. I see you as the best kind of human – the learning kind! Your wit and foresight leads you to solve big complex problems that can help the widest variety of people in positive and impactful ways. You care about people who are marginalized and unrepresented. You have a plan for everyone to thrive, not just a select few, and you follow through with action, not just talking points.
I’m so grateful for your good example of strong female leadership to my daughter, but it’s deeper and more personal than that, really. I want to thank you most of all for being a strong female leader for me. For showing me that women are smart patriots who care about our country, and if given the chance, will do an amazing job. Thank you for inspiring me to not lose hope in a system that seems stacked against women, but to continue to work toward equality and thriving for all.
Thank you for showing me the worth of heart in leadership.
You faced extra scrutiny on the political sphere compared to your male counterparts, but you weren’t uniquely qualified for the work you did because you identify as female. You worked twice as hard to overcome stigma and prejudice than others have had to do, but your strengths are not because of your gender. Your strengths are a credit to your humanity and diligence.
I wish my fellow citizens had been wise enough to see how badly we needed you. I wish we deserved you. You would have used your gift of healing on our country, and we sorely need it right now. Thank you for the healing you have already offered.
I have more hope than ever before that strong women will be spurred on by your example and that we will have wealths of diverse qualified candidates to run in all races in the future. I’ve worn my “Nevertheless, She Persisted” pin as a way to honor women who stick to their convictions. I will wear it still.
But mostly I hope you run again, because it meant so much to me to vote for you. All my heart’s hopes and dreams bled out with the ink into the bubble next to your name. You’ve inspired me to be a better advocate and activist. Thank you for being on the ballot.
*The views in this post reflect solely the opinions of the author, and do not claim to represent the view of the broader Exponent II organization, bloggers, or community.