Dear Hillary,

I failed you and I am sorry.

Today is a rather foggy and disjointed day. After Tuesday's election, apologizing to you is the only thing that feels authentic to me right now.

I so wanted this for you, for our country, for myself. Our country needed to break through this final glass ceiling and continue the progress of the last eight years. We needed your brilliance, your dedication to service, and your fight. We needed to refute the dark and vitriolic language and behavior we saw this year—to put it right back into the cave out from which it crept. We needed a leader who could form a sentence. Jesus.

There is a lot of opining and finger pointing today. So much arm chair quarterbacking of people absolutely certain they know what went wrong....with you. But I am going to hold up a mirror because I know that answer starts with me.

Sure, I wrote blog posts, I donated the money. I even went to Iowa and Arizona (twice) to help the campaign on the ground. I tangled with "Bernie or Busters," I promoted you on social media. I took indulgent selfies with you at rallies and bought the swag so people would know I was a Super Fan. But it wasn't enough. Or it wasn't the right focus. Or a combination of the two.

Now, I'm left here reflecting on what I should have done differently. I keep replaying all the sacrifice you've made and how much utter ridiculousness you've had to endure only to end up with this result, and the tears won't stop. I need to reflect on what I could have done differently because this loss isn't on you—it's on us, and I clearly I fell short, and I don't want to put another fantastic public servant like you through this ever again.

I apologize for not tending to fractures within the Democratic party—a party, I think, oftentimes is more concerned with being right than being a big tent. I saw the signs during the primaries—a bubbling, festering smugness of absolute self-righteousness in both camps. We are a good group of people, but we can be very intolerant of each other. Circular Firing Squad has always described it best. Although I did my part to correct the record on your behalf, I largely avoided fights or responding in kind. What's the point, I thought? They'll come around. After the primaries, I was convinced those folks grieving Bernie's loss would turn to you because, well, logic. What are you going to do, not vote? That's so clearly not an option. It was smug of me to think that rather than engage. I didn't hear their frustration or act as a better ambassador and I am sorry. 

I apologize for not doing more to challenge the media who created these false comparisons between your "negatives" and Mr. Trump's. I hope more time will be spent in the post-mortems of this campaign season analyzing how totally ludicrous it was to give equal air time between your pneumonia and his attacking a Gold Star family, between the Clinton Foundations' life-saving work and the Trump Foundation's self-congratulatory kickbacks, between your email server and his sexual assault talk. There are no equal signs between any of these examples, and it was maddening to helplessly watch this unfold for more than a year against you. And for every requested smile, every critical word, every bad parody of you on late night television, I sat silent. Sure, I would re-post some feminist counter-point to my Facebook feed or lament the absolute misogyny of all of it with friends. But isn't talking in an echo chamber the same as staying quiet? I see now that it is. I should have registered more disgust and anger on your behalf with networks, with reporters, with people who didn't just nod their head in agreement. I should have been a better fighter against the misogyny and sexism you have experienced your whole public life. I regret I didn't do that justice.

I apologize for not challenging and persuading the Trump supporters in my family and friend network more. And I also throw in an apology for the state of Wisconsin—my birthplace—just for good measure. I barely attempted to change their minds. What was the point, I thought?  Their decision defies reason, they aren't going to change my mind, and I certainly won't change theirs. Why bother?  I am still really struggling here because I cannot understand how one overlooks all of the hatred, vitriol, racism, sexism, xenophobia, sexual assault, corruption, conflict of interest, inexperience, incoherence and then register, what I am being told by my fellow Wisconsinites is essentially a protest vote. All election season, I resisted every urge to banish these people from my life. Because I know the people there to be kind and generous. These are the first people to come to the aid of a neighbor in distress and help sick family members. They love their kids and want better futures for them. And yet, they did this thing that I find horrible and somewhat unforgivable.

And finally...I apologize for racism. Rather, I apologize for my paralysis on this issue. I apologize for all of the isms that reared their ugly heads this election season, but particularly racism. I like to think I do my part to be a white ally, but it's clearly destructively insufficient. I struggle with trying to be "woke enough" while also not becoming an insufferable "White Savior." And that fear of being too much of the latter and not enough of the former causes me to do nothing or say nothing many times. It's wrong. And because I wrongly feel paralyzed in this arena, a lot of what happened this year went unchecked by me. I was too in my head about what to say or what to do that I didn't do much of anything other than nod along with others challenging it more aggressively. And because of this, you had to swim upstream against a tide of what Van Jones correctly called "Whitelash." You never had a chance, no matter how much money you raised, or how superior your ground game, or how much ass you kicked in all three debates. And for that, I am deeply, deeply sorry.

While this may have crushed me temporarily, it hasn't permanently crushed my optimism. We owe it to you and your vision of a more perfect union, shattered glass ceilings and all, to get right back up again. It's time I put down my mirror and stop reflecting on what I should have done and turn my attention to what I will do.

With sincerest apologies,

Jason Bennett, Diehard Hillary Supporter since 1992.

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