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Why I'm Not Excited to Read "What Happened"

I went to every Hillary Clinton rally in my area. I was an intern for the campaign. I called unbelievable amounts of people for phone banks. And I’m not excited to read What Happened. In the early hours of November 9th, I did my liberal duty and cried as it became clear that Hillary Clinton, the woman I had idolized since elementary school, would not become the first female President of the United States. It was at this moment that I simultaneously started my journey of grievance with the other 65 million Americans who had voted for Clinton.

Denial. The first of the five stages of grief sunk in hard and fast. As I moved about my day, the lethal combination of lack of sleep and denial of the events that had occurred lead me to walk around aimlessly, completely numb to everything. This feeling would go on for a while as I would foolishly buy into every possibility of impeachment or defiant electoral college voters that my trustworthy liberal media outlets spoon-fed me. It wasn’t until January 20th, Inauguration Day, that I realized I could no longer deny the facts anymore and live in my comfortable fantasy where Donald Trump was not president.

Anger. That’s what rose out of me and millions of other men and women the following day when we took to the streets to have our voices heard at the Women’s March. We were no longer going to sit around and be docile, instead it was our time to take back the confidence that had seemingly been sucked out of us on election night. Feminists united, we came together for moments of intersectionality where we had our causes recognized. For the first time in a while, we felt that we mattered.

Bargaining. While the momentum of the march carried into the following months, it was unavoidable to get stuck in this third step of the natural cycle of grief. After seeing a cabinet filled with unqualified billionaires, approval of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, and an immigration ban, most liberal voters like myself lost what little hope we had in the administration and found ourselves thinking about what we could have done better. “What if I had made more calls?” “If only I had told more people about absentee ballots.” “What if I had registered more people to vote?” These thoughts churned in my head as I thought about not only the ways that I could have done better, but how the campaign as a whole could’ve improved. I was stuck in the past, trying to negotiate myself out of the pain of this loss.

Now, most know that the next two stages are depression and, finally, acceptance, but I stop my descriptions here because I feel that while the rest of the nation has completed the cycle, one person has not: Hillary Clinton. And that is why, to finally give reasoning to my claim, I am not excited to read What Happened. Stuck in the stage of bargaining, Clinton has not moved past the finger pointing that we have all outgrown. Instead of being the leader of the charge forward into this new progressive era that we all hoped she’d be, she’s too busy placing blame on others, never stopping to put an ounce of blame on herself. With only ten months having passed since her loss, this book seems to be more of a reactionary burn book than the introspective think piece it was made out to be. I’m ready to move on, and if Hillary Clinton is going to be the one dragging me back to the past, then I think I have to be willing to let her go.

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