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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

This is what a President looks like . . .

I was moved by Paul's post about the momentousness of last night's election and what it means about the America we live in today and the one we will wake up in tomorrow and the day after that.  I also have a very young daughter and found myself thinking last night that as she grows and one day learns about the "President" -- the image her little mind will form will be first and foremost of an African-American man.  How unbelievable and inspiring.  Like many, I also grew teary last night as I listened to African-American parents talk about the joy they'll experience when they look their children in the eyes and tell them that they truly can achieve anything in America because an African-American man is the President of the United States.

To my surprise, however, I found myself aching for the day that I get to look my daughter in the eyes and tell her that she truly can achieve anything in America because a woman is the President of the United States.  My reaction surprised me because I've been a long and passionate supporter of President-Elect Obama (Yay! It's so fun to say!)  I was not moved by Sen. Clinton's candidacy or, clearly, by Gov. Palin's.  But my reaction is highlighting for me how much role models really do matter.  As a 1L at the University of Chicago, I did not have a female professor until the third quarter.  All year I told myself that it didn't matter -- that contracts was still contracts and torts was still torts. But when I finally had my first female professor (Elizabeth Garrett for Civil Procedure), I realized it did matter.  It mattered a lot. She was smart. She was qualified.  She was tough.  And she made it that much easier to imagine being in front of the classroom myself some day.

As I continue to celebrate last night's historic end to one discriminatory barrier, it's only making me increasingly anxious for others to fall too.  I want it to be that much easier for my daughter to imagine herself in the oval office some day.  I hope we don't have to wait too long.

Posted by Sonja West on November 5, 2008 at 04:27 PM in Gender | Permalink


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History was made last night indeed - but the best thing is to see hope in people's eyes again...

Posted by: Stop Smoking | Nov 5, 2008 7:10:06 PM

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