After a murky battle for the White House that has been all about the Biden-Trump rivalry, Kamala Harris shines through.
Biden's win may be the prime focus of today's celebrations (and rightfully so), but the significance of Harris's win cannot be understated. To many people, hers is the real victory of this election.
On Saturday, she made history by becoming the first female, black, and South-Asian vice president-elect. Throughout the election season, she was Biden's trump card; a fearless force and reliable ally against a ruthlessly dishonest Trump campaign.
Keisha N. Blain, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburg, was right in saying that Harris would "hold the key to Biden's win" this November.
"Her wide-ranging progressive and inclusive platform along with her commitment to advancing racial justice, expanding health care, and protecting vulnerable populations are most urgently needed today—perhaps more than ever before," she added.
Harris represents millions of people in the demographics who are too often ignored and underrepresented. Like many people in the US, she was born to immigrant parents who sought the American Dream and a better life.
Her mother was a breast cancer researcher and her father was an economics professor. Harris herself was a district attorney in San Francisco, then later the attorney general for the state of California.
She is a proud woman, a person of color, a daughter of immigrants, a believer of science, an advocate of education, and an upholder of the law. With that in mind, there is arguably no better person than Kamala Harris to bring unity to a nation that needs guidance in those aspects now more than ever.
Since 1789, there have only been only two female VP nominees, Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin, as well as one female presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. To think that female leadership in those roles has been that scarce in the entirety of America's 200-year history is baffling and, quite frankly, sad.
Sad to people like me, who understand just how much of a better place our world would be if women were afforded equal chances as men to shine.
I am fortunate in my life to have grown up surrounded by strong and powerful women. My mother, my grandmothers, my aunts, my sisters, my cousins, my friends, my teachers, and my colleagues have all been crucial influences in my life and I would not be who I am today without their direction.
They raised children, uplifted their partners, held down households, and immersed themselves into their communities; all while working full-time jobs and advancing their careers. In many cases, they were even the breadwinners of their families.
I have seen, firsthand, how women can be the difference-makers when they are given the power and opportunity to do so.
Just take the coronavirus pandemic, for example. The countries with the best responses all have one thing in common: women leaders.
"From Iceland to Taiwan and from Germany to New Zealand, women are stepping up to show the world how to manage a messy patch for our human family," writes Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, the CEO of gender consultancy 20-first.
"Add in Finland, Iceland and Denmark, and this pandemic is revealing that women have what it takes when the heat rises in our Houses of State."
Wittenberg-Cox praised the women leaders for their effective strategies for containing the spread of the virus, such as the early testing approach employed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the 124 measures introduced by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, which helped keep infections and deaths in her country at record lows.
The world is starting to see a slow rise in women leaders, from New Zealand's beloved Jacinda Ardern to the recently re-elected US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In reality, women in leadership positions is not a new concept; it's just a vastly unpopular one.
Even me just saying this elicits scoffs and rolled eyes, especially from some of my male friends. To them, women are incapable of effective leadership simply because they are women; a reasoning that is both baseless and frustrating. Why some men are so threatened by female leadership I will never understand.
Oftentimes, Americans do not realize just how much influence their country has on the rest of the world. People everywhere remain invested in the US simply because American decisions affect all of us.
The celebrations across the globe prove just how important this Biden-Harris win is. It is a renewal of hope, but more importantly, a step forward for democracy, for women, and for society as a whole.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are about to inherit a nation that is divided, dying, and dwindling in terms of global reputation. They have a lot of work to do, and while not everything they do will be perfect, I am hopeful that they can still bring some much-needed positive change to America (and consequently, the world).
Photo by Gage Skidmore
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