Kaylee Sheppard

Kaylee Sheppard

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the last couple of weeks have been filled with the US elections. The biggest news in my opinion surrounding the election has been the projected win of Kamala Harris, the first woman to be elected Vice President of the United States. 

The huge glass ceiling that California Senator Kamala Harris just broke when she became the first woman ever to be elected vice president of the United States may not be the highest in American politics, but it’s the second-highest. Kamala Harris also has the distinction of being the first Black and first Indian American vice president-elect.

In some ways, this moment seemed inevitable for America. Just looking at the unprecedented number of women who ran as Democrats for president this election cycle. A woman was the Democratic nominee for president four years ago. To see a nominee win is a first.

While this accomplishment seems to be overshadowed by the current pandemic and economic crisis, not to mention the sitting President continuing to contest the election, it’s long term effects are incredible.

I was in the third grade when Senator John McCain selected Alaskan Senator Sarah Palin to be his Vice President when they ran against Obama in 2008. I remember, for the first time, feeling seen in politics. As a young child, I loved history, but I always struggled to see myself involved in making that history since everyone I learned about was men. To see a woman be second in command on a camping ticket was a life-altering experience.

I even asked to dress up as Sarah Palin for Halloween that year. Of course at that age, I had little knowledge of policies and political parties further than what my parents told me. But regardless of the party, to see women do that was what sparked my interest in studying politics and law. 

I reminisced on this experience while watching Senator Harris give her opening speech at the Biden Harris celebration after every major news network called the election for Biden. It made me think about all the little boys and girls watching that tv seeing themselves a little bit more in politics. I remember how disappointed I was when Sarah Palin and John McCain lost in 2008. And disappointed we still had to wait on our female President when Hillary Clinton lost in 2016. These kids are not feeling that today. 

No children born after last Saturday will have to know an America where there has never been a woman to be elected as the Vice President of the U united States.

Regardless if you voted for the Biden Harris ticket, or even like Harris’ political views, you have to admit that is pretty cool.

Kaylee Sheppard is a graduate student in the Accelerated Master in Public Policy program. She can be reached atksheppa7@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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