Dear Mrs. Clinton:
My mother was born in 1920, the year that women received the right to vote in the United States. Today, she lives in a nursing home in rural Minnesota.
“I have my hair and my teeth and I have my marbles,” my mom says to anyone who will listen. She has lived through the Great Depression and a World War and has lived long enough to see an African American man occupy the Oval Office. She hasn’t yet seen a woman become President of the United States. You can change that, Mrs. Clinton.
Your friends say that you are perfectly content, after being First Lady, U.S. Senator, presidential candidate and Secretary of State, to have time to clean out your closets. Even if that is true, which I find hard to believe, now that you have had a few months of being a private citizen, I suspect that the future is beginning to crystalize for you.
If you live for 30 more years, Mrs. Clinton, you will be approximately as old as my mother is now. Like her, you will probably still have your hair and your teeth and your marbles. Do you really see yourself just writing a few books, giving a few speeches and cleaning out closets for the next three decades? Can you really imagine attending the inauguration of Joe Biden?
After all of your time in public life I would like to say that you have earned the right to step off the international stage, but I don’t believe that is true; at least not yet. For a very select few leaders, the expectations of the majority trump what may be individual desires.
After 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela might have craved a private life, but that would have to wait. At the age of 76, Mandela was elected president of South Africa and served for five years. If he could do it, Mrs. Clinton, so can you. People are counting on you.
There are girls and women (and a whole lot of men) all over the world who are looking at you to see what you will do next. And there is a 92-year-old woman on the prairies of Minnesota who has every intention of voting for you and living to see you take the oath of office; and not just once, but twice. You would make history in 2016, but it’s 2020 that my mother really has her eyes on.
My mother turns 100 that year and 2020 also marks a century of women having the right to vote in the United States. How appropriate that a woman should be president at that milestone. You best plan a really big victory party in 2020, Mrs. Clinton, because there will be a whole lot of centenarian women, who have their marbles, who will be making their way to D.C. to celebrate.