The Vice Presidency Is Still a Win for Women
This morning, I woke up to a beautiful Colorado sunrise coming through the windows and a text from my group chat that Georgia had flipped blue. Bleary-eyed, I turned on the TV just as Pennsylvania did the same thing. I waited patiently all morning for someone to say what I had been waiting to hear.
With Biden taking these states, we will have the first female vice president in US history. Still, there are two ways to read this statement.
Option 1 — This is a huge moment for women in America but we are still riding shotgun instead of driving the car.
Option 2 — This is a huge moment for women in America.
I am choosing Option 2.
I wanted a female president. I still want a female president. That didn’t happen. It’s not unlike so many other things that haven’t happened in my life that I really wanted, thought I deserved, and was saddened because they never came to fruition.
Many times, I’m come close but not close enough. Not close enough quickly turned into not good enough. This is a horrible feeling.
What I’ve learned over time is that our achievements stand by themselves. The moment we start comparing them to other people’s achievements or the achievements we haven’t obtained yet, we take away their beauty, power, and joy.
When we hyper-focus on the fact that Kamala Harris is second in command and not first, we are robbing her and ourselves of the joy of the win.
It’s a weird psychological phenomenon that happens with “second.” A scientific study found that silver medal winners were the most dissatisfied Olympians. Forget the bronze medal winners. Forget the people who didn’t even place. It’s the folks standing just under the top dog that aren’t happy.
They see someone else standing where they wanted to and feel sadness, anger, frustration, and defeat. I am certain that many of us women, not the least of which is Harris, can relate to that feeling right now.
We need to take the win. We have reason to celebrate, so let’s revel in it.
When we focus on where we could have been or where we should be instead of where we are, it takes the wind out of the sails of a notable moment in history. I want to soak that moment in for a while.
We’re going to see a woman as the first in command of our country. It will happen and we all know this. The days of “not right now” are numbered. What right now gives us is a woman in the highest political position we’ve ever held, exactly 100 years after we won the right to vote.
Harris deserves our celebration, not our ruminations on what could have been. Let’s make sure she gets that.