What Hillary Clinton Means To 3rd Graders
When I was in the 3rd grade, the year was 2000. George W. Bush and Al Gore were running for president. It was the first election of which I was mentally aware. But to be fair, I was barely aware…
Does anybody remember the popular, grade-school periodical called Scholastic News? It was a something of a pamphlet with the thin, newspaper-like pages and low-res pictures. This was how a 3rd grader kept up with the world happenings back in 2000. At least, it was how this 3rd grader did.
I specifically remember the cover, featuring the two candidates, Gore on the left and Bush on the right. By 3rd grade, I knew about presidential elections. I knew about men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Honest Abe. I knew Bill Clinton was the current man in the White House, and I’d heard my parents mutter a thing or two about a blue dress.
I remember reading through the childish newspaper, trying to make what I thought would be an educated decision on who I was voting for. But my efforts were clearly unsuccessful as all I recall was deciding to support Bush because I liked the picture of his dog more than Gore’s. Who can blame me? Scottish terriers are much cuter than black labs (IN MY OPINION).
Today, in 2016, I’m writing on the night that Hillary Clinton became the first woman in the history of America to win the nomination for president by a major U.S. political party. Today, I am writing on the night history was made.
During her DNC speech last night, Michelle Obama stated:
And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters — and all our sons and daughters — now take for granted that a woman can be President of the United States.
I think back to my 3rd grade class. Looking through that Scholastic News, nobody thought to ask, “Why do these two guys, apart from their hair and size, look like every other president we’ve had?”. Nobody thought to ask, “Why are there no black presidents?”. Nobody thought to ask, “Why hasn’t a woman been president?”, even though the class was half female. 16 years ago, every single President of the United States had been a white male, and no 10-year-old thought to ask why.
This fall, there will be a new 3rd grade class, filled with kids who feel way cooler now that they’re done with 2nd grade. Perhaps they’ll look at a Scholastic News, or, more likely, some digital periodical on an iPad. But they won’t be looking at two carbon copies, racial- and gender-wise, of the past 42 presidents. They’ll be looking at the sitting president, a black man, and his potential successor, a woman.
America isn’t done progressing, isn’t anywhere near perfection when it comes to acceptance of differences. I dream of the day a 3rd grader opens Scholastic News and sees a trans-man running against an Asian woman for the highest office in the land. I think about the day when someone’s race doesn’t carry with it a plethora of stereotypes, a day when someone’s income does not limit their success, a day when America is truly the land of the free, land of the brave, and land of the equal.
We aren’t there yet. We mustn’t stop fighting now. We can’t set this country back by electing someone who would prefer to take 10 steps back.
We have to surge forward, and hopefully, this forward-thinking surge will be led by a woman, a woman named Hillary Clinton.
I don’t know who those 3rd graders are voting for. But I’m happy they know that their only option isn’t just another white man.