How to Talk to a 9-year-old About the First Woman Vice President-Elect
A Woman Vice President? What the…
I’m trying to remember being 9 years old, equipped with my used 3rd grade history textbook. Flipped to the right page, there were portraits of 40~ white men displayed side-by-side like an unnecessary yearbook. They were the United States’ presidents. I never questioned the monotonous race or sex as I stared at ugly faces and pre-trend contoured cheekbones. At the time, I likely reasoned that white and male 40 times in a row is normal. I am not white, but unquestioningly, I must have thought my immigrant parents just rented space in this country, trying to taste that sweet, juicy, freedom that George Washington bragged about in earlier chapters of the book. But I owe myself the comparison to think about me now versus that 9-year-old. Perhaps I can give today’s 9-year-olds some perspective since they’ve just witnessed Kamala Harris break centuries of unyielding ground in United States politics. And with this information, maybe they’ll question more than I did when I was that age.
To the 9-year-olds
Well. Maybe. It’s 2020 now, and there still won’t be a female portrait — they don’t give Vice Presidents that real estate. Maybe VPs should be photoshopped together near the back of the book, like a volleyball team or Student Council photo. But I can’t say what will happen, because our current President, the orange one, is on a mission to re-patriotize history lessons in America. With Donald Trump’s guidance, future history books might start in 1933 Germany and end on November 2nd, 2020.
Thinking about the first female in anything — you’ve got to realize the pain and hardship it took her and so many women before her to get there. Think about how qualified she must have been to be chosen a running mate (and don’t forget to begrudgingly acknowledge the white man who chose her). She must be able to see Russia from so many different houses!
In 2018, Kamala Harris, California’s Junior Senator, shock and awed us with her questioning of then-Supreme Court Justice Nominee Brett Kavanaugh. She spent 7 minutes pressing Kavanaugh on his ties with Donald Trump’s personal law firm. The exchange stopped you in your tracks so you could admire the veracity of this lawyer who chose to serve her country. It was a sweet, sweet time. It was the “calm” before white America would have to bear the burden of learning how to pronounce her name*. Although she did run for President, and ultimately dropped out of the race, it indicated she was out for MAGA hats.
Fast forward and here we are. Democrats won the 2020 Presidential Election. Madam Vice President-Elect is packing her bags for the east coast, taking her second gentleman along for the ride. Meanwhile, Donald Trump lays on the carpet of the oval office, pounding his fists on the floor like a New Years baby, refusing to concede the election he so clearly, faithfully, and fairly has lost. If only the textbooks got this real…
But if you think this is the beginning, you’re sadly mistaken. The clock was running out. Kamala Harris had to be elected Madam Vice President and break the glass ceiling now, because it was a constant threat to the Audubon society. Although, and it hasn’t been confirmed, there are rumors the avian community could see the glass, and chose their in solidarity against Trump’s views on climate change. The poll is still out on that. But as much as we should be thankful for Kamala Harris, we should also be a little annoyed. Did she have to cross off the woman card, the Indian card, AND the Jamaican card on us in one go? Save some glass for the rest of us, Madam Vice President. However, with the current state of sex and gender today , we might not have man and woman, male and female much longer. Ms. Harris needed to get cracking. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, ask someone why your classmate James’s mom doesn’t call they a girl OR a boy.
And then there’s the biggest reason of all — why it took so long- why we couldn’t afford a woman in the White House until now. The scariest reason, why it was paramount to avoid a Madam Vice President for as long as possible — Things will finally get done.
So, my precious Medium-reading 9-year-old, don’t let the 44 white presidents, 1 black, and 1 orange fool you. Anything is possible. Make sure your parents remind you of that.
Of course, my own father, the Indian that he is, took two routes in acknowledging Kamala Harris’s groundbreaking achievement. He said to me, “You know, you can do something like that, too.” I believe this is the retired, lazy, Indian father’s way of saying “Why didn’t you become the first Indian Vice President?”
But I took it in stride. I softly replied, “Dad, it means a lot that you would even say that…even though it’s 25 years too late and doesn’t mean anything anymore. I’ve already set my eyes on middle management.”
Take notes, kid.
*I watched a segment where someone called her Camelback. I see politicians on national TV mispronounce her name on purpose. I see many still not even try. To those people, just remember, God doesn’t like you.