Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog

Day Three – I’m Still With Her

Louise Erdrich - Saturday, November 12, 2016
Dear Hillary,

Thank you for running an honorable campaign. Thank you for speaking to what is best in us as humans, and as Americans. Thank you for repeatedly including everybody. Thank you for your grace under the burden of ugliness, the pressure of hate.

I never thought that I would miss this campaign, but I do. I miss watching you fight the good fight. I miss the joy. I miss the hope.

You inspired me by sticking to intelligent, practical, experience-born responses to the real problems that face us. You offered a tough but welcoming face of America to the world. As a mother of four daughters, a writer, a bookstore owner and a Native American, I gained strength from the example of your resilience and composure.

My daughter Pallas and I met you when you stopped in Minneapolis. We were thrilled. We gushed, “You are our warrior!” You smiled and gripped our hands. You exuded warmth. I wanted to hang out with you and have a beer, and I don’t even drink beer.

On the morning after the election, everything felt flat, and strange. It wasn’t just grief, it was fear. It was haunting to walk the streets, go to the grocery, do simple things. There was always that question: is that person filled with hate? Contempt? Or maybe that person? It was worse in the schools, where some students felt emboldened to make racist comments, to harass girls, to let out their ugly side.

My oldest daughter Persia teaches kindergarten in a Native language immersion school on a reservation. One of her students said she knew our next president was a “wall builder” and she was scared. She didn’t know which side of the wall she would be on.

For women of all ages on day one, a sense of confidence and joy drained out of us. We shut down, tried to cope. And of course we did our jobs. At midnight, in tears, I found myself on your website buying more Hillary buttons and signs. Irrational. I already have plenty of Hillary swag!

On day two, things began to change. A sense of all that we have to fight for came back to us. A conviction that now all of our work is more important than ever. Work our staff does at the bookstore to build awareness of climate change. Work to build understanding between people of every race. Words from your concession speech helped -- fighting for what is right is always worthwhile. Your loyal belief in the best of America, not the worst.

Thank you for your commitment to clean energy. Thank you for fighting for a future of our children, for the legions of diverse plants and animals that keep us all healthy, and deserve to live as they were created, by a force we do not comprehend.

Day two seemed to last forever though, I kept faltering. How to answer questions from people in other countries? Our national temper tantrum was now installed in our highest office. Shame crawled up inside of me. I told myself that having a bookstore where, through literature, we can inhabit hearts and minds different from our own, is important. I reminded myself that listening my 15 year old daughter’s wisdom, supporting her and other young women, especially Native women, was important. My daughter Aza has a baby, my grandson. Helping him learn that a man’s strength is expressed by his respect for women, that’s important. I wrestled with accepting that although you won the popular vote, so many other voters, 25% of Americans, were choosing racism, intolerance, contempt for women, and maybe most dangerous of all, volatile inexperience.

By the end of day two, Pallas asked me to write this letter and post it on this page. She said that it would reach a lot of people and that you might read it. My brother told me that some people are angry, blaming, and that it is a stage of grief. So I’m writing a letter on day three to say what is true. You are the most experienced candidate for president we’ve ever had. There was no better candidate. You ran into a wall of hate, but you got up again, time after time. Never lost your wits, your cool. Nobody else could have done that.

Though in frail health this summer, my father, Ralph, always wore a flower in his hat. As he walked laboriously around the neighborhood, he stopped people to campaign for you. My mother Rita, 83, always keeping Ralph steady, filled out her ballot with the pride of a Native women who had worked all her life to teach her daughters fortitude, her son’s kindness. She finally had a woman as strong as herself to vote for.

On day three I’m so thankful for what you showed us. Truth. Resilience. Honor. Expertise. You are our champion. Maybe you didn’t know that even if you lost, you would still be our champion. All along, you were showing us how to get through life without you as our President.

As you gave your concession speech, with Bill behind you, I thought: she is so much stronger than the men who have won the presidency. She is doing the right thing, but she is not defeated. She models power even in her loss.

At the age of 91, Ralph Erdrich promised that he would live to vote for you. He has. He is still living in Wahpeton, North Dakota. He is still for you. I am still for you. Mothers, sisters, brothers, daughters, children, friends – we are still for you, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

We don’t know what you will do next, but we’ll be there.

It’s day three. Time to dust ourselves off, stand up, begin.

Time to make America proud again.

Yours truly,

Louise

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


Tags

World on the Edge cafe Vic Glover Book Review graphix Makoons The Ojibwe Bleak House Native Arts The Blue Sky Ojibwe Michael Jackson NACDI:All My Relations leaves and snow The Game of Silence Population Afghanistan Keystone XL The Transition Handbook city of books gratitude how good looking you are thanks The Wealth of Nature E.L. Doctorow euphoria Tar Sands Ha Jin north dakota Patrick O'Brian adventure photography ptsd Roberto Bolano italy H2Oil Brown Dog Chitra Divakaruni Chickadee William Trevor birchbark house series twins British Navy Nero Easter Island Minneapolis cafe closing Pembina Video Catalyst Climate Change monkey in a dryer Anton Treuer favorite tree Small Bookstores as Commons anniversary Greenland Alice Munro Gail Caldwell S.C. Gwynne Poetry The Royal Prussian Library devoted customers The Porcupine Year Alan Weisman Interview coyote Louise neighborhood Botany Kate DiCamillo mississippi The Resilient Gardener bill mckibben local economy Anishinabemowin Dogs peculiar touches of green and gold Dartmouth Hilary Mantel Milkweed Press joy Women and Trees School Gardens Tree Houses Canada Native People Let's Take the Long Way Home germany solstice, Thomas King Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive President Obama Jim Harrison Birchbark Books knowledge National Book Award Zombies france ireland Aza book and dinner club Anishinabe State Troopers Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge language revitalization aquifer Peak Oil Minnesota Kenwood Gardens Philip Roth post holiday favorite dog Victory Gardens Wolf Hall Keepers of the Trees More Remarkable Trees customers the most romantic city in the world Ice Emily Johnson Gryphon Press 350.org Fireworks friends Too Loud A Solitude thank you friends The Birchbark House buffalo Wastepaper This Green World Light in August Empire of the Summer Moon Mohamed's Ghosts Aubrey/Maturin boarding school Ojibwemowin japan Education Gary Clement incarnation Unnatural Disasters Green Team favorite book post holiday reads ependent Kabul Czech Writer Up Late Again support Remarkable Trees Islam plants sweden Love Too Much Happiness 2666 fresh water Stephen Salisbury tree books green trees The Farmer's Daughter Wendy Makoons Geniusz spring Crushing Books Bohumil Hrabal Bill Moyers Journal Collective Denial Peak Water Beth Dooley Nemesis Rare Books gardens Mankato Powwow pilgrims china Hillary Clinton health care reform show your love Magers and Quinn

Archive