Dear non-Hillary America,
As the nation glows from having elected the first female ever to the White House, the well-wishes and cheers will eventually die down after Inauguration and the cold reality of governing will set in. By now, it's pretty clear where the American voting public sits and you can decide for yourself whether you're in the mainstream or not. But, let's be clear, Hillary Clinton won the most votes and that is where she should govern from.
Or maybe it's not so clear to everyone that the political mainstream in the US has shifted? On one side, President Obama overwhelmingly won two terms with over 300 Electoral Votes. On the other, Republicans do well in midterm elections such as 2010 and 2014. It's hard for these two sides to come to any middle ground when they represent completely opposing ideologies and both have recent political success.
After elections, there's frequently talk about mandates. Is there one? What is the mandate? There's inevitably a crowd who argues that the winner didn't win by enough to govern without some concessions towards the similarly large block of losing voters. But we've spent 8 years of Republicans stalling--for various reasons from ideology to racism--one of the most popular Presidents in American history. Barack Obama arrived with a sweeping mandate for change in 2008 and instead got a dug-in fortress of opposition for most of his two terms. Gerrymandering has allowed Republicans from less populated areas to control many offices that would otherwise be controlled by Democrats. A feeling of ill will toward the other side exists everywhere.
To the citizen on the left of Hillary who was hoping for something more revolutionary I say this...she represents the most progressive platform ever in the history of the United States. And she won on it. Do not cease your criticism, but realize that your dark vision of her corruption is just as much lunacy as the far-right. The only reason the vast middle of the American electorate has been pulled leftward over the last 8 years has been thanks to the careful, pragmatic leadership of President Obama and, yes, Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
To the citizen on the right--there are those of you who cannot be reached because your opposition is too sinister and your motive too impure. You are not capable of realizing the ground has shifted. Or you're too stubborn to change with the times. You wish to dig in more and pull the country back from the progress you refuse to acknowledge. This post is not for you. It is, however, for the moderates. The folks who maybe don't agree with Hillary Clinton on even a majority of issues, but you recognize that the mainstream of American political thought has tilted more liberal than you'd care for. You've seen divided government divide the public further and further. You've seen leaders who should command respect and careful criticism run through the muck and dirt of hope for political gain down the road.
Democrats were long told to get in line, shut up, and follow along when George W. Bush was in office post-9/11. Yet the same patriotism wasn't returned when the voters elected a liberal black man to take the country in a new, Democratic direction. I think I speak for Hillary voters everywhere when I say that we expect the absolute worst from some of you. Hillary has dealt with your hatred for decades and the next 4-8 years will be no different. But it could be different.
As Hillary Clinton takes over in the Oval Office, we should repudiate the partisan bickering that has begun to drag us down. She won. Decisively. (I hope, since I write from the past.) Let us take this opportunity to put aside American differences and embrace the decision of voters for a positive vision of the future. If you can't be positive, perhaps now is the time to hush.
Hillary Clinton is not Donald Trump's dark, cynical version of America where we're desperate to return to an imaginary golden past. Nor is Hillary the political revolution that Bernie Sanders' supporters perhaps hoped for. But she does represent America choosing a path forward that speaks for most of us. That's how this process works. Hillary speaks to our hopes for overcoming negativity and doing the hard work of improving real lives.
If you didn't vote for Hillary, please help us do the work she was elected to do.