Earlier today, Hillary Clinton delivered her concession speech, bringing the 2016 presidential election to a close.
It was a speech few people thought she would have to make. Every poll and projection imaginable had her winning the election handily, and the Javits Convention Center, which was supposed to be the site of her victory party, instead slowly transformed into a site of tears and shock.
For many, Clinton’s campaign represented a light of progress for women and other marginalized groups, and her defeat represented that light being snuffed out. There were tears in every corner.
But despite all that, Clinton delivered a classy-as-hell speech that this divided nation needed to hear.
Her speech contained a message of unity, hope, and love for an America of opportunity and fairness.
“This is not the outcome we wanted or worked so hard for,” Clinton began. “And I’m sorry that we did not win this election.”
Clinton thanked her family and campaign staff, and she talked about the need for hope and cooperation.
“I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it too,” she said.
“This is painful and it will be for a long time. But I want you to remember this: Our campaign was never about one person or one election. It was about the country we love and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted.
I still believe in America and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it.”
She noted that her career has seen many successes and failures, encouraging young people to continue to fight for the things they believe in.
“This loss hurts,” she said. “But please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. … To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion.”
Whether you were a Hillary supporter or not, today’s news just doesn’t feel good.
It seems like the country has drawn a pretty deep line in the sand. Whatever side you’re on, it still feels like it’s “us” versus “them.”
But one thing has become abundantly clear: The hard and historic work of the Clinton campaign has left a mark on an entire generation of people.
She’s inspired millions of young women and girls who might one day want to be president. She stood up for the marginalized and the oppressed and fought with dignity, respect, and patriotism.
For all that and more, she deserves thanks.
Moving on is going to be difficult, but as Hillary said, it’s the only choice we have.
We can disagree and we can argue and debate. But we have to recognize that progress only happens when we work together.
If Hillary Clinton, who just went through one of the most shocking and devastating losses in modern presidential history, can make a strong, hopeful concession speech about unity, then maybe we can all search deep within ourselves and find a similar sentiment.
“I still believe as deeply as I ever have,” Clinton said, “that if we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions, and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.”
We are still stronger together.
Special thanks to Thom Dunn.