As a campaign staffer for the Clinton campaign, Inauguration Day feels especially hard for me. But seeing Hillary Clinton step out at the inauguration was not the expected punch in the gut, but rather a reminder of the importance of strength and resistance even in the darkest of times.

Working for the Clinton campaign was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I worked seven days a week, fourteen hours a day, organizing volunteers and running canvasses and phone banks and surrogate events in rural counties in Iowa. I dealt with frustrating volunteers and answered more questions about yard signs than I ever wanted to in my life.

But every time I felt like the slog was not worth it, like making that last phone call was not going to do any good, I would look around my office at the innumerable “LOVE TRUMPS HATE” placards and pictures of Hillary Clinton. And I would hit “send” for that 200th time.

And on Election Day, as my fellow organizers and I watched in quiet horror as the vote tallies came in, we knew that we and our candidate had thrown everything into the race that we could. One of my coworkers commented that she would have trouble finding a boss who could top Secretary Clinton, a woman who had truly endured everything, and was still standing. Her strength and stamina could not be missed, even by her contentious and often vicious opponent.

Her appearance at today’s inauguration, where she watched Donald J. Trump become president, exemplified the grace and fortitude she showed during the campaign. Dressed in all white, Clinton recalled the historic moment when she stepped onto the stage at the Democratic National Convention in July to accept the nomination for President.

That DNC speech was my second day on the campaign, and the strength and grace she demonstrated in it would inspire my work during the campaign and beyond. And today, as I saw her in the crowd, watching quietly as the man who lost the popular vote but won the election became President, I knew that not all was lost.

She got farther than any other woman aiming for the highest office. And some day, when my nieces look up to a woman as their leader, they will do so because Hillary Clinton paved the way.

And I know that even when things are painful and frightening, we can remember how far we have come, how far we have yet to go. And we can take inspiration from Clinton as we move forward, and as we build the resistance.


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