Another Open Apology to Hillary Clinton
Every now and again, it curiously starts making the rounds and I invariably hear the words, “Thanks, this means so much to me.”
I didn’t understand. I hadn’t done anything spectacular in my mind. What could be so special about this apology? And so I’ve listened, patiently and for many months, as women shared their thoughts and experiences with me. They’ve taught me a lot.
In some ways, I don’t think it’s about me. I think I represent an archetype of sorts: if I can be reached, others like me also can. In other ways, I can see how it would be cathartic. At the time, I had no idea it would reach so many. It altered the course of my life.
But it’s an inadequate apology, as I said, and it was given for the wrong reasons.
I know this now, because I’ve been listening to you.
So let me tell you what I’m really sorry about.
I’m sorry I was so closed-minded at the time that I valued confirmation bias over facts.
I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you, the men and women who stood beside her. I’m sorry you couldn’t reach me, because I wasn’t listening.
And I’m most especially sorry if I made it harder for you to use your voice, out of apprehension and doubt at how it would be received.
I’m really sorry. And I sincerely apologize to all of you. If I could go back in time, I’d work hard to get @HillaryClinton elected.
You see, I know something now I did not know then. I know that many, many women are afraid to use their voices. With very good reason. I know that you are faced with unimaginable toxicity. I know the lengths you go to in order to minimize it, when and where you can. I know it has had a chilling effect on your speech, and I know that many supporters of both Donald and Bernie scared you into silence.
I know these things because I really have been listening.
I spend my days now doing whatever I can to “lift your voices above my own.” I’m not seeking forgiveness, but I know I have it all the same, because I know your hearts. I’m grateful for them: the world needs them.
Words can be a wonderful tool. They can enlighten and inform us, even resonate and change us. Words, combined with action, are golden. I would like to share with you the ways in which your words have shaped me, because I’ve been wholly transformed since that apology.
It was a difficult journey. That and many other threads led to more and more people discovering me on here. As an INFJ, it made me somewhat uncomfortable at times. I’m not very good with groups, and a spotlight can make you feel pretty exposed.
You encouraged me to share my voice, my empathy, and my vulnerability, so that I might use it in the service of others. You valued me. For someone who has a difficult time valuing himself, due to a lifetime of trauma, that was genuinely priceless.
I couldn’t possibly thank you enough. You’ve helped me overcome self-doubt, tolerate toxicity, and embrace what unique gifts I may have. You saw the goodness in me and insisted I see it too. I have seen the best of humanity expressed here daily. It has been life affirming.
And so, somewhere along the way I became part of a community, and I want to do everything possible to help and support that community. There are so many problems we face right now that none of us can focus on all of them. It’s a team effort. We fight in different ways.
In my case, I’ve become involved in a number of projects on Twitter I hope will make a real difference: both now, and after this crisis.
I see the proliferation of fake news and gaslighting (both from our potus and the fringe left) as very serious threats to our democracy. To that end, I started @FilterOutBias, where we give people free access to investigative journalism (@nytimes, @washingtonpost, etc.) I am actively working to expand this project into an educational platform where the resistance can remain informed by credible sources.
I also care immensely about the toxicity we face in today’s political climate. They’re deliberately harming us. I care about your feelings and your health, both physical and mental. This is an open invitation to DM me anytime you just want to talk. Soon I will focus energy on @ToxicTweeting, because we need to do a lot more to combat the toxicity that’s here.
You’ve changed me. You must see that now. That simple apology, which I didn’t expect many to see, has become a huge catalyst in my life.
And to that, all I can say is, “Thanks, this means so much to me.”