Madam Vice President. I like the ring of that.
Joyful tears sting in my eyes. To some, that reaction may sound hyperbolic, but I'm old enough to remember when Geraldine Ferraro was the topic of dinner conversation as well as news stories. When she sought the vice presidency in 1984, I was 9 years old. Now, in 2020, I'm 45, and my first thought is that it should not have taken 36 years to see a woman make it to the vice presidency.
It's hard to wrap my brain around what this election means to me. It means progress, even though there's another white man as president and that's nothing new. Joe Biden is a comfy old shoe that helps us remember better days. But Kamala Harris — she catches my breath. She means my 5-year-old Hispanic son will spend at least the next four years witnessing a woman of color hold the second-highest office in the United States. She means my daughters will now have a strong woman on their side in the White House when they combat hatred for their race, gender or sexuality. Harris has earned a seat at one of the most important proverbial tables in the world.
After the racism and blatant bigotry we have witnessed from President Trump's administration and his supporters, Harris means hope. Harris reminds us that though this race was a tight one, more than half of this country stands for progress, validating women's rights and working toward social equity for diverse populations.
I learned in elementary school that the United States is a melting pot of cultures. However, the term "melting pot" dates back to the 1780s and is missing a key ingredient: equality. This country is 200-plus years into existence, and its modern citizens demand more from this melting pot recipe. The majority of today's American people expect diversities that our Founding Fathers never imagined. Americans now strive to right inequities rooted in sexism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia.
Harris in the office of vice president is a manifestation of these expectations. No, inequity doesn't magically disappear when an election is won. But it does mean conversations will include a representative at the table who can fully advocate on behalf of the nonwhite, nonmale American people. And, yes, that brings tears to my eyes.
But more importantly, that brings voice to my throat.
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a wife, mother and award-winning columnist. She is the media director of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Find her on social media @WriterBonnie, or email her at [email protected] To find out more about Bonnie Jean Feldkamp and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.