“The President-Elect of the United States is…” In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama, raised by a single mother, became the first African-American man to become the 44th President of the United States of America, history was not only made but a new possibility and future was upon us. In a similar light, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic contender for the White House, would accept the position as Secretary of State, being the third woman in American history to hold this position. She would campaign one more time to become the next Commander in Chief. If you were like me, you may have thought 2008 was the turning of the tides, a dawning of a new, more inclusive age, and that 2016 would bring about another “first”.
Donald J. Trump would win the 2016 Presidency; he lost the popular vote and with it for many, the hope that diverse faces would fill those powerful seats. Well- in the beginning at least… While his appointed cabinet members, interns, and all-around staff were Caucasian and lacking diversity, we would learn the momentum that was set in 2008 only took a detour, not gone for good as some had feared.
The 2018 Mid-term election would bring with it a wave of diverse candidates for the United States, breaking barriers across race, gender, sexuality, and religion. With over 100 women in the House for the first time in history, one of those women being a lesbian Native American, Sharice Davids from Kansas.
Continuing to ride this wave of momentum, 2020 would summon the voices of the oppressed to speak up and show up in a way that would break more records. Before we start sharing the “wins” and many “firsts” of those elected officials, let’s talk about those who voted for them. Let’s talk about the 161 million Americans that voted, during a global pandemic, during high amounts of voter suppression, and did I say global pandemic? The faces that represented different races, religions, sexuality, gender, and race came out to vote for diversity, to vote for people that look like them, pray like them, love like them, they sought inclusivity. So there’s no wonder, that those positions would be filled with the first open transgender senator, Missouri has their first Black congresswoman, two openly gay Black men were elected to congress, and our Kamala Harris became the nation’s first woman, of Black and Indian descent to become Vice President of the United States.
My hope for this country is that this momentum continues, that these seats are filled by people who represent the larger group, the group they advocate for. We typically don’t like to see cracks in things but this is one place where it’s nice to see things broken, especially the glass ceiling above.