Hillary Clinton has largely been out of the public eye since she lost the presidential election. The Democratic nominee's concession speech was her first sighting, save a time a supporter ran into her and Bill in the woods while they were walking their dog. Even on Twitter, mum has been the word since Nov 9. Clinton has been radio silent — until Wednesday night, that is. Speaking at a fundraiser for the Children's Defense Fund, she gave voice to what we've all been thinking. What Clinton said at her first public appearance since the election was presidential, hopeful, and inspiring — a true lesson in grace.
She may have preferred to stay home with the dogs and a good book — in fact, she acknowledged that's been tempting this past week, saying, "I will admit, coming here tonight wasn’t the easiest thing for me." But like always, Clinton persevered and headed to D.C. to give a speech for the group she got her start with. Yes, this is the same Children's Defense Fund that you heard about during the campaign season, where Secretary Clinton once fought to end discrimination against minorities and disabled students in schools. Back in 1992, after Bill's win, the couple made their first appearance at the organization's celebration.
It was probably assumed that this visit would be under very different circumstances. Nonetheless, Clinton showed once again what kind of leader she is and would be. Not once did she mention her rival in the race, now president-elect Trump. Instead she spoke to all of her many dispirited supporters, acknowledging that she too was disappointed. "I know many of you are deeply disappointed about the results of the election," Clinton told the crowd. "I am too, more than I can ever express."
But Clinton moved past that to explain that the campaign was bout more than just her candidacy. "It was about the country we love and about building an America that is hopeful, inclusive and big hearted," she explained. Therefore, we're not to lose hope. "The arc of the moral universe is long and it bends toward justice," Clinton said. "Sometimes it can feel awfully long. Believe me, I know. But it does bend." Then she asked everyone to stay in the game:
For the sake of our children, our families, and our country, I ask you to stay engaged. Stay engaged at every level. We need you, America needs you. Your energy, your ambition, your talent. That’s how we get through this. That's how we help to make our contributions to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice. I know this isn't easy.
I know that over the past week, a lot of people have asked themselves whether America was the country we thought it was. The divisions laid bare by this election run deep, but please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country. Fight for our values. And never, ever give up.
Now, if that's not the most unbelievable response to this election, I don't know what is. Clinton may have only put 61.9 million (and counting) cracks in the glass ceiling, but she will be remembered for how she campaigned tirelessly against Trump and lost with dignity and grace, all the while sowing seeds of inspiration for the next generation of progressives.