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The First of Many

Jacks Smack 111320

I understand there is a great deal of controversy and divisiveness in our country — and in our world — today.

the rapid pace of technology shines an all-too-bright light on our differences”

Personally, I can’t recall a period in my lifetime where the delta between viewpoints was greater. Not since the turbulence of the sixties has the nation felt so polarized. But, since I was a small child at that time, our current animosity feels unprecedented.

We’re at a point in history where the rapid pace of technology shines an all-too-bright light on our differences. While the vast middle of the country fights for jobs and protection from globalization, university towns and high-tech havens foster change. It’s a recipe for resentment, distrust, and meanness.

The Yin & Yang Of Social Media:

For all the good it has done and continues to do, social media intensifies feelings of those at both ends of the spectrum. Worse yet, listening to only like-minded individuals, getting lost in nothing but confirmation bias, further cements our preexisting views. This makes it nearly impossible to practice empathy or engage in civil discussions where we “agree to disagree.”

Throughout this election cycle, I was so caught up in the “them” versus “us” that I barely noticed that for only the fourth time in our history, a woman’s name appeared on a major political ticket. I couldn’t get excited that not only had a woman shattered that glass ceiling but that she is also a woman of color.

Never do you hear about the “all-male” anything.”

I want the appearance of women’s names at the top of major political party ballots to be commonplace, not to be noted, nothing special. This is much the same way I felt about the media’s reporting on Christina Koch and Jessica Meir’s all-female spacewalk. Never do you hear about the “all-male” anything. But those astronauts’ day at the office will forever have that appendage attached to it — reminding us that it is “not the norm” and that maybe we shouldn’t get used to it. I want to get used to it.

Before anyone gets angry or defensive, I want to make clear that if one doesn’t support the ideology of a candidate, one should not vote for them, regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity. Voting one’s conscience is first. However, I contend that no matter what your political beliefs, there needs to be room for recognition that a woman has finally broken not only the sound barrier but a nationally electable one as well.

The Genie is Out of the Bottle

Yes, we need to make note that Kamala Harris is the first. She earned it and is owed that distinction. But, I want to add ‘of many’ to that designation. Women comprise more than half our country. Shouldn’t our institutions reflect that? I am tired of the dance we seem to be forced to play, two steps forward, one back. If the goal is for institutions to truly reflect the people, then we have to get lousy with female leaders. Still today, there are only 33 female CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies. That’s a mere 6.6% of the total list. Women need to show up everywhere: government, board rooms, c-suites, and more. Better yet, I look forward to not noticing one more woman of distinction because of her gender but rather her talent, integrity, and effectiveness. Here’s to ‘the first of many’.