Tuesday, November 8, 2016

History Has Its Eyes on You

I voted this morning! When I walked outside, I burst into tears. The gravity of this election, and its potential place in history, overwhelmed me. I thought about the suffragists, who fought for women's right to vote. I thought about all the mothers and grandmothers I've heard about through social media, who cried tears of joy as they explained, "I finally get to vote for a woman." I thought of all my guy friends who also recognize the importance of this event, and who also proudly voted for the most qualified candidate.

I remembered that back in 5th grade, I wrote a play about the first woman president. I like to think the character I wrote was like Hillary. I remember writing about some of the issues a woman president would have to contend with, both in campaigning and when she took office, but even I did not yet know the depths of sexism at that point in my life. I would learn pretty quickly, though. When I told teachers and friends about the play, I got some words of encouragement, but I had so many nay-sayers that, one day in frustration, I threw the play away. I regret doing that, but I'm thankful that I finally have the chance to see that dream come true.

Now all I can do is watch, wait, and hope. I'm thankful for so many people in my life who are hoping with me. I'm certainly not going to tell people to vote for Hillary because she's a woman. That's the least of the reasons you should vote for her. Instead, you should vote for her because she is the most qualified, strong, and never backs down or loses focus in the face of harsh criticism. Because she has done difficult jobs in the political arena again and again, and done them well.

But I think it's important to keep in mind that every time Hillary is attacked, with her gender as a subtext to that attack, it is an attack on all of us. Every time Hillary is criticized for a trait that would be valued, even expected, in men, we are all being criticized. It's too much to expect that Clinton's election would end sexism, just as Obama's election could not end racism. But it is progress, and it helps us move to a day where we hopefully look past gender, and look instead for traits we value in our leaders.

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