Dear Hillary Clinton,
For starters, I want to say this letter could probably use a few edits. I stayed up until 3:00 am the previous night trying to watch for the results. Anywho….
As I briefly glanced at my Facebook feed, I saw statuses and statuses of fear, utter disgust, and fear because you lost.
Many of my friends are worried about their futures. Many friends apologized for the results.
I have a confession, I do not hate Donald Trump. However, he was not my 1st choice to be president. I never hated on him for his wealth. Instead of hating on him because of his money, I’m working on increasing my wealth so I can give my friends and family the same preferential treatment. Believe it or not, I had several friends and family support Donald Trump. Sadly, they did not want to see a woman in office either.
The reasons why you lost? Because you are a woman, and secondly you were a career politician. Tim Kaine admitted during his speech that the U.S. “has made it so uniquely difficult for a women to make it into a federal office”. The way I see it, Trump also got the vote because people are fed up with career politicians. These are Americans who had been disenfranchised, normal people who did not recover from the Great Recession. They hate Obama Care, endless wars, higher taxes, a unstable economy and trade deals that killed jobs. This was a kick in the ass to Washington. People were tired of being made promises by politicians and being forgotten about. People had the chance to vote, and they spoke. Now Donald Trump is the 45th president of the United States.
The question that I always ask people: Why do you think that politicians are looking out for you? Regardless of who is in the Senate, House of Reps, or even if you made it as president, I wouldn’t have expected you to directly make my life better. There’s too many people that need help. It’s up to me to control my own destiny and make my own way. Being in entrepreneurship circles, (and if you read enough my entrepreneurship articles I fully explain), there’s no such thing as job security, even if the government promises you. If your job seems stable, you may feel that you're invincible to getting fired. However, no one is invincible, and getting kicked out the door can come without warning. Some people used to earn a lot of money, but due to circumstances beyond their control, they find themselves living paycheck to paycheck. What you ‘know’ doesn’t matter nearly as much as your ability to learn new things and apply those learnings to new scenarios and environments. Once upon a time, there was a time when you could get a degree, land a job with a company that would “take care of you,” stay there for 25 years and retire with a nice pension. But that concept is dead.
Anyways, I got off topic.
I don’t know what losing the presidency of the United States is like (and being so close). I do have a similar experience at a smaller level. The punch to the gut is painful as hell. I can’t imagine what you are feeling right now. How can you give a concession speech after losing an historic election like this I have no clue.
In college, I ran several times for president in several different organizations in college. I ran against males. I lost every single time. In front of my face I heard “how much of a class act I was.” What I heard behind my back by some people who call themselves being my brothers and “sisters” are shameful. I was accused of not following through, not doing this and that right, and being horrible with projects some semesters. I think to this day, they didn’t want to tell me about my mistakes so they can have negative things to talk about to keep me out of office. Even as a PT, I did notice that they went to my male counterpart more than me and they don’t think I knew about it. I’ll tell you why I keep this in the back of my mind below. Bear with me. I’m not writing this out of spite.
The males that I ran against I do not have nothing against. Hell if I see them I’d probably bring the “Tequila” shots. I’m not a sore loser. But like you lost to an outsider and someone who is not a career politician, I did lose to a younger member. They say you shouldn’t take it personally, but that moment was a smack in the face. During my election speech, I noticed that I looked out in the crowd, and people did not give me eye contact. They looked on their phones. While the males were giving their speeches, people laughed and gave them eye contact (I took a glance inside). After thinking about that, I realized how disrespectful that was. After I lost, I looked at the websites in my organizations and noticed that all males mainly won (with a woman or two winning here and there). I kept seeing a pattern of females who were members longer losing to males who were only there for a semester or a year. To try to make me feel better, a few members said that you wouldn’t want to be president anyways, it’s too much work. I actually saw this as a subtle underlying message for trying to discourage women from running for executive leadership positions. I was told one semester to run for VP of Service instead of president. Hm. I noticed that I was being pushed to something else other than the president all the time.
It’s funny, when ladies make mistakes, we are held to a much higher standard. During both of my runs, I remember how my mistakes were mentioned but the males were praised (how I found out? I’ll never say). Could I gone low and fussed, kicked and screamed about the mistakes they made? It wouldn’t have made a difference even if I did. And like I said, I don’t have anything against anyone, so I wouldn’t have anyways. In fact, I’ve always said nice things about my opponents to keep it friendly (because you do realize that if you call these people friends, it would be tasteless to dog them out right?). One president even made the mistake of not turning in important information that was required to keep the organization on campus the previous semester and guess what? Males got in the next three semesters. As a female, if I made that mistake as a VP of Finance or VP of membership, do you really think I would have been elected as president? F*8k no. I talked with an alumni member off the record and they said “haters are going to hate.”
Not only was it hate, it was deeper. The sexism and racism perhaps was present in the organizations, but I didn’t open my eyes. I look back at many of my college experiences and realized that I faced hostility because I violated traditional gender roles (I’ll talk about this below also).
Hillary, they said that you mishandled classified information, and stole the nomination from the Bernie Sanders, the people’s champ. They said that Wikileaks has a 10-year record of never releasing a single falsified document. They said everything they released were the actual e-mails from you and your campaign staff. Donald Trump, on the other hand, regularly incited political violence and is a serial liar,rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly promised to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion, from entering the USA. America voted in a man who not only earned the support of the nation’s white supremacists, but was recorded saying he could grab women “by the p***y” because he’s famous. By losing the election, did society just say that your mistakes were worst than Donald Trump’s? I’d said so.
I noticed in my situations I was always expected to be perfect. The guys could do what they want, but I was expected to be everything to everyone. It’s not so much what was said, it was the actions.
Watching this election was nerve-wracking. After staying up until 3:00 am I knew we wasn’t going to have you as a president.
“This loss hurts, but please, never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will — and hopefully sooner than we might think right now,” she said. “And to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
Ah my heart broke when I heard you say that. All those feelings came back of losing and getting stabbed in the heart.
“This loss hurts, but please, never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
Yes it is worth it despite it being very painful. I did move forward and cut my losses. I’ve moved on from those organizations and I ended up being president/ceo/whatever stupid head hancho title you want to say here. I get 5 to 10 messages about either starting a new company or being involved daily. After watching this election these are facts that I’ll always keep in the back of my mind.
- I know that people will come after me because of my gender and race. I’m not going to verbally b*tch everyday about it, but as the Guardian pointed out, people don’t trust women as much as men. Just 30 percent of people surveyed in a CNN poll conducted in July said that they considered Clinton trustworthy, while 43 percent thought Trump was. The double standard is hard to ignore. Watching what you went through brings back an haunting reminder that about the gender-based attacks on you, Hillary, about the cruel way society treats ambitious women who seek positions of power, and the way some men are truly terrified of losing power in the face of evolving gender roles. This election showed me how our country has always treated women.
- After announcing your run for the white house, you faced relentless, sexist comments. I wrote an article called Why We Fear Women In Power. I basically say there’s many people who do not want a woman in office, simply put. Hillary, you would’ve been a great president. No you are not perfect and I don’t agree with every decision that you made. But you are qualified candidate with years of political experience. The Atlantic rolled out a short video from Beinart’s “Fear of a Female President” that basically explains how all this hate actually traces back to sexism; this fear comes from intimidated men who fear being emasculated.
- Hillary, Emma Gray makes this point and it’s so true. Could you imagine if Donald Trump, were a woman? What if you groped men? Danielle Trump would never have gotten to the White House. Ivanka Trump wouldn’t have made it to the White House. These are the gendered double standards you faced mirror the gender dynamics most women are familiar with.
- In this Zeba Blay post, it beautifully explains that across social media, white anti-Trumpers are expressing shock and disbelief, unable to recognize the America they thought they knew. Well, let me make a newsflash. This is the America people of color, minorities and other groups (LGBT, Muslims, etc) have always known. This is the America that has always existed. I met this America in college, when I ran into racist professors (one friend told me that they wouldn’t cast him in the school plays because he was black, I’ll save my stories for later). This win may be a further conformation of racist thinking in America. Many thought that the election of President Barack Obama meant that we were in a post-racial society. Don’t start underestimating the hatred. If you think we have rose above racism because you voted for Obama you are horribly mistaken. Patton Oswalt is right. We are one sexist and racist nation.
5. The USA hears a man brag about sexually assaulting women, and it’s brushed off as something women just should deal with as a result of being a woman. People wonder why women hesitate to come forward with accusations of sexual assault. This is why. In the US, we live in a rape culture. Women are taught to brush off their assaults as the inevitable consequence of existing in a female body. Sexual assaults are underreported, and where attackers get away with it more times than we can count. In the US, famous men routinely get away with groping women by virtue of their status ― and the fear that status invokes in their victims. Female victims of sexual violence are first and foremost assumed to be liars, out to get the men they say abused them. We live in a world where guys are given the benefit of the doubt so completely that even hearing a guy say he kisses and gropes a lady without their permission is not enough to believe it.
6. The America I created in my head that never really existed. The equal college that I created in my head never ever existed (and got a cold reality check when I got there). I noticed that I was talked over (not by everyone but I did notice it several times). Not only was it hate, it was deeper. The sexism and racism perhaps was present in the organizations (and obviously present at the college), but I didn’t open my eyes. I look back at many of my college experiences and realized that I faced hostility because I violated traditional gender roles by attempting to run for president and being in a STEM field. I can tell you so many stories it’s horrifying. The lies didn’t bother me. They could spread college gossip all they want. Like the quote said, the insults to my intelligence really urked the f*ck out of me. It highly upset me that everywhere on campus, I was treated like I was stupid. Was I quiet at times? Sure. Did I do everything perfectly 100% of the time? Hell no. But did the males? No. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times males got away with the things I never would have.
7. Several of my friends would argue that I truly have the last laugh. One of my friends recently snapchatted me saying “damn, you are killing it.” They see that I’m doing acting, modeling, music and have a few ventures. Just because I’m on the Huff post, Medium and have 50 billion things going on doesn’t mean things are necessarily easier for me or that I have access to anybody that I want. A little success sometimes makes people think you made it, and that’s not necessarily true. I’m just getting started with a lot of areas to work on. The things that happened to me in my college days is always in the back of my mind and nearly unforgivable. Sure, I’m head hancho of a few things now, but what people don’t see is how hard it was for me to be seen as legitimate head of a organization just one year ago. How hard it was for me to become that “president”. How disrespected I was and not seen as an equal. Hillary, I didn’t write this out of spite (I’ve said this like three times already haha), but I did write this letter to you to keep myself aware. Those experiences added fuel to my fire. To not take things for granted. I was recently asked to contribute to more publications and I refreshed the emails several time to make sure it was real. Even when I run for president for new organizations today, I never assume I have it in the bag. I know what it feels like to have something that you wanted slip through your fingers, opportunities slip out of your grasp and the worst part there’s nothing you can do about it.
8. I was asked by several people if I would ever come back (including the advisor). After going through all that, a member approached me and said they would need me because all the people that been around for a long time is leaving. I remained silent. They didn’t need me that bad. I promise haha. I told the advisor that I wouldn’t come back. I hope the bros are doing ok, but after that, I never felt a part of the group. What sucks is putting all that time into a organization just for them to treat you like shit when they got what they wanted out of you. I will never regret my organizations but being put through the ringer let me know how they felt about me! You really can push a loyal person to the point where they don’t care. I’m not heartless, but I have since learned to use my heart less. I was painted like an idiot and people mistaked my kindness for weakness way too much. Jill, in school I underestimated the sheer rage of resentful white men. I also underestimated some of the white women. I’ll never forget the alpha females that supported the males to discourage me from running. No, I don’t hate my blood brothers and sisters (again, I had several white and black relatives vote for Trump, FYI). I love my friends from all backgrounds to pieces. In school, I didn’t think all of this was a factor. I failed to realize that subconsciously I was being judged on gender and race even though I wasn’t doing the same thing to them!
9. As an American girl, I did look at the post These Are The 10 Best Places In The World To Be A Girl (And The U.S. Isn’t One Of Them). I can truly understand why we are #32. I have seen the writing on the wall. This American girl is in the process of creating businesses in the top 10 countries where it is best to be a girl. (I don’t know if I should publicly announce this or not haha). Any other ladies joining? (Of course I will create things in America too, honest. I haven’t stop loving you….)
10. Hillary, am I the perfect president? No. Do I do everything in my companies with laser point precision 100% of the time? No. Do I follow through on all of my ideas? F*ck no. First and foremost some ideas should just stay ideas because if it’s not in the budget or after talking with advisors there’s something better than why do it? After moving on and having real-world experiences, I realized how unfair, ruthless, and how dirty I was treated in college (not by all the members of course). For those of you reading this, if you are going through discrimination, gender bias, back-stabbing meanies, harassment, and the whole 9 yards, I promise there’s better people out there that will treat you the way you deserved to be treated. Not everyone on this earth are ruthless. The grass will get greener and you will see better days. As painful as it is to separate from organizations that I cared about, it’s best to leave if you are not wanted, appreciated, and treated like a dumb-a**. If they don’t care about you, why keep trying?
But Hillary, thank you for running for the president of the United States. Thank you for giving girls and women alike the courage to seek leadership positions. Even though I was eaten up alive during the first few times I tried, I will work my tail off to keep going and bring a posse of ladies with me. In my businesses I will make sure a) that women are in the startups with me and b) I encourage women to “lean in” and seek head positions. You’re right, sometimes this can be painful. Do you know how many times friends and peers hated me just for having aspirations to seek a president position? Do you know how much I’m ignored by my college peers now? I won’t win the popular or most “likes” on a status or photo award of the year, trust me. And I probably won’t be invited out to social gatherings. I promise despite that push back and the relentless pressure to conform, I will not stop. These female senators that made history are a sign to not give up. Yes, I will go into the Trump presidency with an open mind and a chance to lead. America will be ok.
Alesha Marie Peterson
Hello! I’m Alesha! I’m a musician, actress, entrepreneur and writer and recent hospital patient (I still can’t believe that is real). Follow on Twitter. If you like what I’m writing, give me a heart and share! :) I like hearts. Let me know what you want me to write! Click here!