Dear Hillary,

I got to your party late. I am sorry. Like many people, I find politics distasteful, divorced from the realities of my daily life and well beyond my sphere of personal influence. I was excited about the momentum around Bernie Sanders and I felt a bit like those bumper stickers after you won the nomination. From “Bernie or Bust!” to “OK, fine, Hillary.” 

So, you’ve always had my vote, but you’ve not had my enthusiasm until recently.

The debates were a turning point for me. I hesitate to even call them debates, because you were the only candidate trying to share policy ideas and coherent strategies with the American people. Donald simply used his seething-snake-oil-salesman-reality-show-ringmaster-ranting to sell America a distorted picture of it’s own dissatisfaction. His bullying and emotional manipulation was infuriating and unrelenting. I found it hard to take, but you were calm and collected. You were prepared. You took every opportunity to redirect his attacks and talk about issues I was actually interested in hearing about. 

I knew you had many, many years of devoted service to our country on your resume. I knew you had withstood tremendous public scrutiny and humiliation before. I knew you were well traveled, and surrounded by a team of political experts. I knew you would be a competent president. But I didn’t feel excited about the sort of president you would be until I saw you taking Donald on directly, fearlessly, and with total trust that the American people will be able to see through him. (I certainly do.)

I am excited now Hillary, but I know the ropes. The excitement of a presidential election quickly gives way to an odd combination of the pressing and mundane. I believe you may have the greatest challenge of any president yet ahead of you. Your job will be to help unite a country that seems to have opposite impressions of the world and our country. I made this drawing to share my view of things.

Clearly, judging from Donald’s popularity, there are many Americans who see things differently. As I wrote, I realized that many of the things I want for my country are already coming to pass, but there is much more to do. I’d like to see our country come together, do some difficult soul searching and make changes so our ideals match our realities. Your campaign slogan, “Forward Together” is exactly what is needed, but it does feel like a very difficult, distant journey.

I’m on board. Sorry I’m late.

Becky Kazana

I believe that America is already a great nation. It is imperfect, as all man made things are. I believe that the United States was founded with noble ideals we fell short of from the very beginning. After all, in those days, only land owning white men could vote. I believe that over time the United States has continued to become more inclusive and has often been a force for good in the world. Sometimes the change doesn’t feel fast enough. We still fall far short of our ideals. There is much more to do. There always will be. That doesn’t seem to deter you, and that inspires me. The work is hard, it’s mired in the process, which is slow and cumbersome. That doesn’t seem to deter you either. You’ve been in there with your sleeves rolled up for thirty years, through some serious rivers of shit. And yet here you are. 

I want a United States of America where the equality of all human kind is not just an aspirational ideal, but a physical reality. We must address the systemic oppression that is still a reality for many of our citizens. Female people, native peoples, black people, gay people, and minority people are all part of this nation and WILL be heard. It is no longer negotiable.

I want a USA that uses it’s power in the world responsibly, carefully, respectfully. We must lead by example and also be willing to look around for good ideas to borrow. When I go abroad, I want to be proud of our actions in the world. We should build peace, community and prosperity for everyone on earth, not just for ourselves at others’ expense.

We have to care for our precious planet- the thing that sustains all of us. It is a gift we humans have been made stewards of, and we aren’t doing enough to protect it.

We must help to foster discourse! The free exchange of ideas has been our greatest tool of progress! If we start with the premise that we need to go back, many gains are lost, and at a terrible cost.

Together, we can use technology and science to go to incredible new places- places the founding fathers could not fathom. Together we can transform our collective consciousness about what is possible by welcoming many voices, many thoughts, many projects and ways of thinking. Voices we’ve never heard before can help us solve problems we’ve never encountered before.

Americans have a reputation for being naive and brash, but also kind-hearted and full of good intentions. I’ve always liked this identity, but I can see that it is youthful, maybe even slightly childish. I feel ready for a more mature America that is ready to embody it’s ideals rather than pay them lip service.

If freedom is our most cherished ideal, we must find ways to make freedom REAL for anyone who wants it. We must be welcoming. We must be generous. We must have a hard look at ourselves, decide who we want to be, and then act.