By Emma Crowell – I remember being six years old, driving through a mall parking lot, and noticing a yard sign with Hillary Clinton’s name on it. My mom, hoping to educate me about current events, pointed it out and explained that she was running for president. I asked her who else was running, and she told me Barack Obama was. I replied, “I want Hillary to win, because she’s a girl.” Eight years later, on November 9th, I sobbed in my bedroom, thinking, “I wanted Hillary to win, because she’s a girl.” Not just because she’s a girl. Because she stands for LGBTQ+ rights, embraces Muslim Americans, believes in comprehensive gun control, supports access to women’s healthcare, proudly acknowledges that black lives matter, wants to make college more accessible and affordable, understands climate change, wants to reduce taxes for middle class Americans, fights for women and families harder than anyone else, has had decades of valuable political experience, and is a symbol for hard work and perseverance. Her being a “her” is just a cherry on top. But, it’s probably the best damn cherry on the planet.
96 years ago, we as women gained the right to vote. We’ve made incredible strides since 1920, in every aspect of the world. In fact, our strides have been so great that I have never truly felt like I couldn’t achieve something because I’m a woman. That’s a very, very big deal. Credit is due to my fantastic parents, who’ve uplifted, accepted, and encouraged me through all of my passions, and to the rest of my family – especially the amazing female role models I’ve found in my aunts and grandmothers. But, in general, the world has done a wonderful job of embracing and energizing me and all of my female peers. Now more than ever, it’s important to remember that there are millions of girls just like me, who have never seriously felt like gender was an obstacle.
Women can do anything we work for. We have so many opportunities to prove people wrong, to make history, to defy odds, to set examples for the girls of the next generation, and to be first.
Women can do anything we work for. We have so many opportunities to prove people wrong, to make history, to defy odds, to set examples for the girls of the next generation, and to be first. I’m a woman who wants to be a politician. I want to use the privileges I have to fight for others’ rights, I want to use my voice to improve people’s lives, I want to bring people together, and if I ever had the opportunity to run for any office, I’d want to run a campaign on patriotism and bipartisan respect, not on hatred or divisiveness. I know that if I work hard, study hard, and stay passionate, I can and will achieve my goals. I really want to prove people wrong, to make history, to defy odds, and to set examples for girls of the next generation, but I don’t want to be first.
To see someone like me so close to the White House, hammer in her hand and glass ceiling within reach, was inspiring beyond words. Since 2008, long before I was interested in politics, I’ve been conscious of a woman in the race for the presidency. But she didn’t win. Hillary won’t be the first female president. And, I don’t know how to put this eloquently, but, that sucks. I am absolutely, totally and completely devastated. Hillary worked for her entire life to improve our great country and fight for people who felt like they had no voice. She worked for her entire life towards becoming president. I want to be president, but I don’t want to be first; I wanted Hillary to be first. I wanted the most experienced, intelligent, resilient, strong, compassionate, and brave woman I’ve ever had the opportunity to admire to get to claim that historic title. Someone else – maybe a lower level politician, maybe a talented lawyer, maybe still a student in law school or college – will get to be first. They’ll get to shatter the glass ceiling, and I hope with more passion than I’ve ever hoped for anything else, that they’ll be endlessly grateful to Hillary for putting millions of cracks in the ceiling for them.
Right now, post-election, we’re heartbroken. But we can’t just sit around and cry. I’ve done a lot of that, and I’m tired of it. We have to start making change, start fighting…
Right now, we’re heartbroken. But we can’t just sit around and cry. I’ve done a lot of that, and I’m tired of it. We have to start making change, start fighting for ourselves and our peers of different races, religions, and sexualities. If you craved a Clinton presidency as intensely as I did, then you must honor her and her fight, by making your voice heard and by setting a good example. You can fight in many ways. You can fight by putting all of your effort into your job, whatever job that may be, so that little girls can look at you, and be conscious of a woman excelling in a field they might one day pursue. You can fight by loving people, by treating everyone with compassion and, especially right now, looking out for people who might be hurting. The most important way you can fight is with your vote. 96 years ago, you wouldn’t be legally allowed to cast your vote, so next year, study, and cast a vote in your local election, in 2018, study some more, and cast a vote in the senate race, and in 2020, study a little more, and cast your vote for a president who believes that strength comes from unity and hope comes from tolerance. Hillary told us in her concession speech, “Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” So please, get out there and fight, in whatever way you know how. Fight because you could plant a seed in a little girl’s mind, like Hillary planted a seed in mine in that mall parking lot. Fight because we will not be stifled, because love still trumps hate and it always will. If not for anything else, fight for girls like me, for six-year-old me, who wanted to see Hillary win because she’s a girl.
About The Author
Emma Crowell is a 9th grade student in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She is passionate about women’s rights and hopes to study political science in college and pursue a career as a politician.