No matter which side of the aisle we find ourselves on, I hope we can all appreciate that history was made this past weekend. The United States will FINALLY have a woman in the White House, just a heartbeat away from the presidency. I was teary eyed when Kamala Harris strode onto the stage in Wilmington, Delaware on November 7, 2020, to give her victory speech. Wearing all white in a nod to our historic suffragists, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, she thanked her country for turning out to vote in record numbers. She challenged our children to “…Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not, simply because they’ve never seen it before, but know that we will applaud you every step of the way.” These are our hopes and dreams for all our children, but especially our daughters and granddaughters.
Vice-President Elect Harris was not the only woman to make history this election cycle. More women were elected to Congress than ever before. Republican Cynthis Lummis was elected the first woman to represent Wyoming in the U.S. Senate. Missouri elected its first Black congresswoman. Congress will now have a Korean American woman, a Native American woman and the first openly trans person. Congress took a giant step towards looking more like the diversity that is America.
After CNN called the election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Saturday, my daughter-in-law looked at my three beautiful, smart, kind, funny granddaughters and told them, “A WOMAN! A woman, ladies, holds the second highest position in our country! A WOMAN will be representing our country in the world! You get to LIVE history, I hope you are proud!” My granddaughters cheered! Then they coyly asked, “Can we go to McDonalds?” Everyone celebrates in their own way…
I’m thrilled my grandchildren are growing up in, in the words of Kamala Harris, “…a country of possibilities.” On Saturday night, I did a quick, non-scientific poll of some of my friends over the age of 65. I wanted to know if when they were nine years old (the age of my oldest granddaughter), they ever wondered why a woman wasn’t president. With the exception of one self-proclaimed rebel, they were right there with me, accepting without question that men run the world. By the mid-sixties, some of us started to question the status quo, but it truly has been a loooooong process.
So, Kamala, while I toast your accomplishment, I will be watching. I fully realize you and President Elect Biden face staggering challenges you didn’t create and every decision you make will be scrutinized. We know you will remember the wisdom of the extraordinary Congressman John Lewis, “Democracy is not a state. It is an act.” Don’t let my granddaughters and me down. We’re counting on you.
C’est la vie.