Ladylike and presidentlylike

Cornelia Nauta   —  

Amersfoort, the Netherlands

Dear Hillary,

One night last summer I could not sleep. So I turned on the television and zapped. I saw people telling their stories, their commitment to you. People were engaged and happy. I was moved. So the next night when I woke up, I didn’t try to fall asleep. I watched some more people with incredibly heartbreaking speeches, with passion in their voices. They were sincere; they all believed America is a great country, but that there was much work to be done. Difficult work. The only one who they thought capable of doing this work, was you.

And they still are thinking that, by the way.

Then the last night I didn’t want to miss anything, so I did try to get some sleep in the afternoon and prepared everything for not being bothered so all night long I could focus.

Wow! When you entered the stage, it was a moment I won’t forget soon. Forgive me to be a bit silly, but it was like watching future TV. There you were in that magnificent white pantsuit, ladylike and presidential. You smiled.

I was a great fan of Startrek Voyager. The captain was a woman. In the final episode the captain returned as an admiral, with much wisdom and wit saved the ship and the ship returned to the planet Earth. Somehow (this is why you will think I am silly), there was something in your attitude that reminded me of the admiral in that final episode.

Someone who had seen it all, someone able to fight for everyone. Someone with scars underneath her clothing, but not afraid to go forward first, taking the first blows like tough people do. Someone who is very compassionate, but not a sissy when it comes to making hard choices. Someone who admits mistakes and thinks that making a mistake is not a weakness but a lesson learned in life, and therefore will remain proud and still standing. Someone who sees the talent of other people and encourages them to move forward, without having any kind of jealousy, because working together is the soul of improvement. Someone grounded with a strong belief in the future and who has a vision of that future. A future inclusive for everyone. Someone trustworthy who can be respected and loved.

Then I heard your speech. All those plans, all those ideas, and moreover, all those progressive plans ! I saw what America would look like if you had it your way. It was soothing future music to my ears and mind. Not only I think some of these plans are necessary for America, but for the world. All those plans, they didn’t tire me. On the contrary-they revived me.

It was no future TV; it was very real. A great moment of joy that I will cherish forever in my heart.

The weeks after that I saw rallies, I saw questions in a town hall, I saw debates. A Dutch newspaper said after the last debate that you were like a beautiful white swan entering the arena and that all the awful comments just slipped away on your feathers. I saw tears and laughter. I saw children come to you, mothers, shop owners, pop stars. I saw girls who put their faith in you holding your hand. I heard men talking about being a feminist, too.

I replayed videos and heard you talk about the pollution in Flin and how angry you were. I saw the fire in your eyes when you spoke about the commitment to doing something about this situation. I saw how you took care of the Mothers of the Movement. Their grief became your grief. I heard you talk about people with an addiction, people with Alzheimers, people with mental problems. I heard your speech and the speech of Al Gore about climate change in Miami. That made an impact on me because I know too well what will happen if we ignore it.

In the Netherlands there are parts of the country that are 6,76 meters below sea level. My mother survived the flood in 1953. But her great parents and 1800 other people didn’t survive and drowned in the storm, because the dikes were too low because of lack of money and interest. Still every year the government sees to it that there will be no weak parts in those dikes, because the sea level is rising. And yes, every citizen pays for that. We have a special tax to pay for it every year. In a village, you have the mayor but also people who watch the dike when there is a storm. These people do regular checks-the groundwater level, the dike, and so on. When there are municipal elections we choose those people as well. Water boards have existed since 1255, so that is quite a history. If there were no dikes, no bridges, no defenses against flooding I could not be sitting here writing you this thank you letter, it is clear as that. So when the sea level is rising we take it as alarm bells ringing. The knowledge we have in my country confronting the water is also a product of export. So yes, it can provide new jobs !

In the north of the Netherlands, not far away from where I grew up, in the sixties a high amount of gas had been discovered. Thanks to that the economy of the Netherlands went well for a long time. By now, there is not much left of this gas bubble. And more frightening: earthquakes. Little but nevertheless frightening have happened in this area. People are very scared and because their houses are damaged, they cannot sell their houses. It is also a place where people have difficulty finding jobs, so their children go to the cities. The villages become like ghost villages without a grocery and without a doctor nearby.

It took much courage and perseverance from the people in all these villages living on top of this gas bubble to protest and to demand attention. All they wanted was for the exploiting of gas, or what is left of it, to decrease so that those earthquakes would stop. They succeeded. Now they are rebuilding the houses strong enough to endure the trembling of the earth, with money from the industry that exploits the gas and money of the government. And guess what? The carpenters and the plumbers who are living in the north of the Netherlands now plenty of new jobs. I really think that because of the climate change agreement in Paris, there has been a mindset.

Well, listening to the speech of Al Gore and you listening behind him, applauding now and then, in my future TV program, I could see you in the White House, taking advice from him and pushing forward more clean energy programs, and with it more jobs. It would have been a major step forward, but I am confident that more and more people will be aware and do what is needed-separate garbage, buy an electric car, and so on. Because everything begins with us, one voice, and that one voice will be heard by many voices. We only have to let our voices hear more clearly right now.

Thank you for this speech and many other speeches. Thank you for the empowerment you gave and continue to give to women and girls, not only in America, but all over the world, and to me. Thank you for supporting LGBT rights. Thank you for being you.

I wish you well. Yours sincerely,

Cornelia Nauta