When I was a kid, I was obsessed with history. Specifically, American cultural history during the American Revolution, Civil War, pioneer, Victorian, and civil rights eras. A lifelong romantic, I was fascinated by the courting rituals, fashions, and gender separation of that long period; perpetually confused by other peoples’ behaviors, I studied the lives and values of the times. I poured over books about historical fashion, children’s lives, and social dynamics, and went to uncountable historical museums. The result was that at an early age, I understood about class differences, gender roles, racism, sexism, and political differences.
My deep sense of justice was insulted by these social constructs. The people who fought them – Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt – were my heroes. I resolved to never let my gender get between me and what I wanted. During this same time frame, I decided I wanted to be the first female president.
In 2008, I was 11 turning 12. Hillary Clinton was running against Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. I was torn between the two candidates: on the one hand, I liked Hillary and I wanted a female president. On the other hand, the first black president was also really cool, and I wanted Hillary to run in 2016 so I could vote for her… although, being 11, I also wanted to be the first female president and was a little jealous that she might take that away from me.
When Obama won the nomination and appointed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, I thought that was the best of both worlds. I was excited to have a black president, and I started learning more about Hillary and Bill Clinton. Over the past eight years, I have followed her career closely.
Here’s the thing. I want to be a politician. Knowing how our national and global political systems operate and the roles different people play, I believe I can make the greatest positive difference for the most people by becoming a politician. With my understanding of psychology, economics, politics, and science, I think I can be an effective politician. My mom, mentors, and role models have all told and shown me that I can be whatever I want to be, and I want to be a person that makes a difference in the world.
I have had many, many role models. I have looked to Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Jane Goodall, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Emma Watson, Wangari Maathai, Elizabeth Blackwell, Angela Merkel, Malala Yousafzai, and many other historical and contemporary women who have been trailblazers. I have my mother, who is stubborn about doing the right thing no matter what obstacles get in her way – a trait I have inherited. But there is one role, a job I want to hold someday, where I have no one to look up to: President of the United States.
Hillary Clinton is striving to reach that job. I am not only voting for her because she is a woman – she’s smart, tough, and has a strong, decades-long social justice background – but it is a factor in my decision. Because if and when I have my own daughters, I want to hand them a book about the presidents and know that there is someone in there like them within those many pages about men. I want to never have another girl ask, “Can girls be president, too?” I want Hillary because women are 50% of the population and 0% of the country’s presidents. Because I want representation in the White House. Because I DO want to be President someday – but I DON’T want to be the first.
It’s long past time we had a female president. Hillary Clinton has the experience, qualifications, and understanding to be a good one. I want HER to be my next commander-in-chief.