To Hillary I say thank you.
Despite every unfair obstacle stacked against her, she never wavered. With patience, class and grace, she stood up and stared square in the eyes of THE poster boy, if ever there was one: of American chauvinism and privileged patriarchy—and she never blinked. It might sound clichéd, or boring, or even meaningless to express how much her campaign and character will always inspire me, but for a guy like me, I couldn’t believe in that more fully.
…Growing up I never felt comfortable in my own skin. The truth of the matter is for much of my life I’ve been culturally fearful and submissive; being a son of Philippine immigrants very much of a model-minority mindset, I’d always been intimidated by the elite in this country, the face of which for many historical and socioeconomic reasons is typically a white one. Put another way, in the face of white America, I’ve always felt quite secondary—even valueless. As a 5’8 (and-a-half) Asian man, I never really felt very “masculine” either to tell you the truth; I was never the tallest, never the strongest, never the fittest—certainly never the first person to come to anyone’s mind if anyone ever imagined an ideal American man (which will likely never change though I’m at peace with that now).
I spent most of my life feeling like no one, nothing, and for the most part afraid of and dwarfed by pretty much everyone and everything.
When I say I’m grateful for Hillary, I say I’m grateful to a woman who has demonstrated perfectly that there’s so much more to one’s strength and value than I’d ever cared to consider—a woman who had the figurative “balls” to publicly take on the alt-right beast’s grand champion in all his narcissistic and bigoted glory; though ultimately she’d fall, she still took him on, took him on well, and showed mice like me that I don’t have to be a slave to all the crap I don’t have—that my disadvantages should only encapsulate me to the extent that I squander or even lament the tools I do have. She’s shown all of us, whether we know it or not, that there is no such thing as a weak, or diminutive, or inconsequential human being who puts him or herself out there and tries—and I mean really tries—as thoroughly and honestly as he or she can.
Me, I happen to know it—and because of it, I no longer have a right to be submissive and easily intimidated, not by anyone. I really shouldn’t have to feel weak or useless anymore; with women like the Secretary out there sticking her neck out for me, I simply have no right to be afraid.
That’s what this election has taught me; that’s what Hillary Rodham Clinton has taught me—and for that, #ImWithHer always.
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