Dear Secretary Clinton,

You are my hero. You’ve been my hero for a while, but the way I felt this morning when I woke up was different. It was special. Your performance was incredible last night. I’m so proud of you.

After days of being triggered, depressed, and stressed by how it felt like open season on women, you lifted my spirits. Like so many women, I have been taken back to every abuser in my life, to every man that made me feel like my body did not belong to me, and to every moment I’ve been afraid of sexual violence. This recently has robbed me of the experience of being excited about you; I feel, today, that I have regained some of that.

Your poker face is a force of its own. Time and time again, you stand in front of the world, cool as a cucumber, as you are pummeled with questions and criticism and insults. You prevail. You remain focused, tethered to your goals.

When I read sexist and threatening internet comments hurled at strong women, I sometimes think to myself, “Thank God I don’t have to encounter these people acting this way in real life.” You stand in before them, take their abuse and carry on, still with your eye on the prize. Our prize.

Last night, you didn’t even flinch when Donald Trump interrupted you, calling you a “nasty woman.” Why would you flinch? That wasn’t your first rodeo. You’ve heard worse. For the third time, you stood on a stage with an aggressive, abusive bully, and did not back down.

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If you’re nasty, then I want to be nasty. Things people say to your face would make me cry in an email. You’ve been the subject of conspiracy theories, scrutiny, and smear campaigns for decades; how you haven’t given up and retired to a private life dazzles me.

You declared to the world you will defend our rights as women. You declared to the world that it is NOT acceptable to you for ME to die if my pregnancy is killing me. You definitively and clearly showed that you intend to defend me. To feel that coming from a female candidate for president was new, to me. To see it on that stage, in front of Trump, in front of Chris Wallace, coming from the mouth of a woman and a mother - that will be a defining moment in my memory.

For the first time this election, you stood before a moderator who truly hit you hard, and you provided details and flexed your policy muscles; you showed everyone you know your facts. Your memory is sharper than mine at age 31.

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Were there things left unsaid? Yes. I screamed at my television, as Trump went uncorrected with his false depiction of late term abortions. I wished you didn’t pivot away from your email scandal; you were investigated and exonerated and you should have just reminded everyone. The things that Wikileaks found were not all that disastrous for you; why did you let them lie?

They say you might not win against a stronger Republican candidate. That might be true. It doesn’t mean you aren’t qualified; it doesn’t mean you haven’t earned it; it doesn’t mean you’re not incredible. It’s ironic - or is it - that the historic election featuring the first woman as a major party candidate is against a raging sexist and serial harasser, if not rapist.

You’re not perfect. No candidate is. You are expected to be, because you are a woman. To me, it’s not so much an unfair advantage that you have over Trump, since he is such a huge disaster of a candidate. It’s serendipity that your bar is being lowered ever so slightly, so it is at least achievable. Obama isn’t perfect; would he have been elected if Bush hadn’t enraged so many people? If Sarah Palin hadn’t been tapped as the Republican VP nominee? Maybe, but it would have been a closer race. If, if, if. Don’t let anyone spouting “if’s” try to minimize your achievement, should you win.

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I wouldn’t vote for your husband today. I don’t fault you with his mistakes, I don’t credit you with his achievements. That would be sexist. While a partner choice does say much about a person, I do not believe that it should be a primary point of contention. You - you without Bill - are qualified. You have seen the Presidency in ways that very few others have. It’s hard to reconcile, but I can understand why you stand by Bill in the face of accusations; I probably would too, as much as I hate to admit it. I hope the accusations are false.

Plenty of people are merely voting against Trump, and not for you. That’s fine; he should be voted against. Anyone who won’t vote against him is an enemy to reason, safety, and civil rights. I voted for Bernie Sanders in our primary, but not against you. On Election Day, I will be voting for you, enthusiastically. I will take a selfie, so that there is a record of me voting for the first female President. I will go to a party to watch the election, and when you win I will probably cry tears of joy.

I’m bracing myself for 4 or 8 years of horror: obstructionism and investigations and accusations. I’m worried the hatred against Obama is just the appetizer to what you’re going to face. I’m ready for years of Trump refusing to concede, trying to bring you down by force. I’m bracing myself for your presidency to end with a 6 person Supreme Court.

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You, unlike me, will be able to handle it. I know you will. I trust you to fight for us.

Sincerely,

HML