A Breakthrough for All Americans

To all Americans who reacted to last night’s nomination of Hillary Clinton with disparagement, vitriol, conspiracy theories, and even hate-speech: Please take a moment to think about what what was accomplished, and to whom it might matter. Regardless of what you think of Hillary Clinton, for the first time in the history of our Republic, one of the two major parties (at last) nominated a woman as candidate for the presidency.

This is an historic moment for our democracy.

We should be humbled by how long it has taken, and proud of our ability to evolve as a people. To anyone who is not in politics, the decades of service and struggle to which this breakthrough candidate has committed herself, should be humbling. Future generations can now take for granted that the presidency really is an open office, to which any young girl or boy can aspire.

At the time our nation was being born, Mary Wollstonecraft observed correctly that any nation in which some are excluded from the rights and privileges of full education, public life, decision-making and self-determination, is diminished by that exclusion. Such a society is deprived of all of the personal virtues and talents the excluded persons might bring to its public life. She observed that everyone in that nation is diminished, even the most powerful of the old guard, who feel this diminishment affects only others.

Last night, whether you will ever vote for or support Hillary Clinton, we all became freer, in a deep and important way.

We should take a moment to celebrate this, as a tribute to the power of an evolving democracy and to the values that allow us to live with openness and unity, as both adversaries and as patriots, all at once. There is honor in showing grace to an accomplished leader of the other side, especially when we mark a milestone in advancing human liberty. It is that kind of grace that we proclaim is great when we talk about the greatness of our democracy.

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