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A Letter to Hillary

Dear Senator Clinton:

            Congratulations on winning Kentucky. I think I should start on the positive first because I’m going to say some things that might not be considered positive. First, I’ll tell you a story.

            Ten years ago, when Monica Levinsky became a household name, my mother wrote you a letter. No doubt, you don’t remember, and that’s okay. However, my mother said something in the vein of: “If we were sitting down with a glass of wine, this is the advice I would give you.” She told you to keep your chin up, don’t let the Republicans get you down, and keep on going. Weeks later, we got a letter from the White House. The White House! You wrote my mother a letter, thanking her for her support. The letter is in my grandmother’s hutch, where we keep things that mean something to us (my high school diploma, my mother’s faux Faberge egg, and a pumpkin I molded when I was five)

            I’ve always admired you. I might not always agree with you, but I’ve always admired you. You always showed that nothing was going to get you down. When the pundits said you should kick your husband out of the house, I thought um, how can she do that? Technically, it’s his house, because he is president. It was a terrible situation you were in, and you did the best you could.

            I was honestly ready for you to be the nominee. Even when it looked like you wouldn’t be, I thought the weird Clinton luck would win out. The Clinton luck is when just when it looks like you or Bill don’t have a chance at something; be it the presidency, getting kicked out of office, not getting a senate seat, fate intervenes and it all turns out for you. However, it looks like the Clinton luck isn’t going to work this time.

            Now if we were going to have a cup of tea, this is what I would tell you. I would tell you that it’s done. It’s not over, you’re not a loser, but it’s done. Senator Obama has the delegates, he won Oregon, and now he’s heading to Florida and probably warning them: “If you think you can do to me like you did to Al Gore, you are surely mistaken.”

Okay, Reverend Wright was embarrassing to him, but you have to admit he seems like a good man, a man like your husband; raised by a strong mother, married an equally strong woman, and can move people with his words. But that is little comfort to you, I know. Many political analysts have compared you to Reese Witherspoon’s Tracey Flick in Election, where Tracey after weeks making “Pick Flick” buttons and trying to get people to vote for her to see the football star get the votes. I’m now sure to use one of your husband’s quotes, feel Tracey’s pain.

            But this is what I know. This doesn’t have to be the end. You are still the senator of New York. You have shown women that yes; a woman can become a nominee, and be taken seriously. With Chelsea campaigning for you, it is obvious you took Mrs. Onassis’ advice: “If you bungle raising your children, then nothing else you do matters much.” You didn’t bungle raising Chelsea, because she shines with elegance, pride, and confidence.

            Years ago, I took a mythology class. We read Bill Moyers’ interview with Joseph Campbell, and he talked about the hero’s journey. What I learned is that the journey is sometimes difficult, and it might not be what you want, but it’s a great journey nevertheless.

            I think of President Carter, when he lost in 1980. He had every right to be bitter and angry. But he picked himself up. Built houses with Habitat for Humanity. Written many books, including one about his mother Miss Lillian that I just finished and loved. Has tried to build bridges with people, people he disagreed with, to make peace and try to make it a better country. His journey wasn’t meant to continue being president, but to be a citizen of the world.

            Al Gore, as you seen, wasn’t meant for the White House either. After a while, he realized it was time to go back to talking about the environment, telling people about what he learned through the years. He talked about his sister dying of cancer, which might be related to his family raising tobacco. He won an Oscar and a Nobel Prize in the same year.  Let’s face it, what did President Bush win last year?

            Eleanor Roosevelt, who I know has been one of your role models, had her struggles when her husband died. But her journey continued. She kept on writing her column My Day, was the first chairperson of the United Nations, and, at the time of her death, was on a commission to explore equal rights for women in 1961. 1961! Before women burned their bras, before Ms. Magazine made its debut.

            You can run in 2012 again, or you can keep on working in the senate. I now think of Senator Kennedy, who is now realizing that his journey is coming to an end, when he realized he wasn’t meant to become president like his brother. No doubt, he made mistakes with his life. But he has tried his best to be a good senator, to do the best he could.

            Here are some suggestions I would give you: Save Reading Is Fundamental, which helps get books to children who desperately need it. Go to schools that have been hurt by No Child Left Behind, and see what you can do for them. Don’t forget to have fun: get Bill to take you to the Bahamas. Read some Jennifer Crusie and Meg Cabot. Get a massage by a guy named Sven.

            I’m not writing to tell you this because you are a woman, or you should do this for the Democratic party. I would probably say the same things to Barack Obama (well, with him I would tell him to get drunk and crank call Reverend Wright) I’m telling you this for you. The journey might not lead to White House. However, it might lead to something more.


                                                                                                            Yours truly,

                                                                                                            Jennifer Gibbons

                                                                                                            Lafayette, California