Andrew Hornick / A.P.
For many it was a big leap. But for others, being elected the country’s first woman and woman of color vice president is a long overdue step, and a reminder of how many more roads there are.
New York Marketing Manager Wendy Saul is one of many women Spoke with NPR four years ago, After Hillary Clinton lost her attempt to become the country’s first female president. When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were invited to this year’s race, he was overjoyed, he screamed, cheered and cheered.
“My God, how wonderful it is,” she cried, a little quieter, but still thrilled, after a few days. He added that Harris’ election “strengthens the ability to dream and is achievable for future generations.”
His 25-year-old daughter Moira Johnston was also thrilled to hear the news. She was jumping up and down at work, hunting more, crying, and sharing champagne with friends. “We open a door slapped in our face,” he said.
The tears of their joy were far from over as they were frustrated on election night 2016. Wellesley College, Saul and Johnston’s Alma Matter and Clinton’s wanted to be a celebration. The cupcakes were topped with pieces of sugar glass, and toy hammers were set up for what they thought was an instant scattering of the final glass ceiling. But by the end of the night, the only thing distorted was their beliefs.
“It was utter and utter despair,” Johnston recalled.
“That night was even clearer and it was mind-blowing,” said Kathleen Ju, 27, another Wellesley alumnus. “It was like the county was checking a class and turning in a brilliant woman. Also, I think it was very sexual and misleading.”
‘Deep relief, but not right’
So, this year, when the country chose its first female vice president as a black and South Asian, Xu felt deep relief, but not exactly. But an Asian woman named Xu said she still does not see it as a moment to rejoice in how far women have come.
“Oh my God, no! Not at all. I don’t think this was a pleasant win,” he said. “Look at how close the vote was. It’s not a big win.” For Ju, it was disappointing to see Harris in the No. 2 slot. “I think people [saying they can] Accept a woman as vice president, but not as president, “he said.
Tovia Smith / NPR
In the last four years he has become much worse than he was in 2016. After that, even in the depths of his frustration on election night, he insisted that women “should wake up the next morning and fight wearing our pants”. Ann. ”
Nothing, she thought then, was unattainable.
“I was definitely naive,” she sighed, recalling it this week.
Today, he says, he pays less attention to how far women have come, and more attention to how much glass needs to be filled. She said the reality has been severely affected since her super-supported “anything-women-can” left the “bubble” of All Women’s College. Being considered a nurse while training as a small doctor is one of the biggest challenges she has faced., When she came forward with a sexual harassment complaint, she said, “No one trusts me.”
“It was very eye-opening,” he said. “I got the message loud and clear. Now I realize how difficult it is. It made me grow a lot.”
‘Country I Don’t Know’
Another Wellesley graduate, 24-year-old investment analyst Sidney Robertson, felt far worse than celebrating the election of Harris as vice president.
Looking back, he, too, said that in 2016 he was living under an “illusion” that the nation had made more progress towards racial and gender equality than it really was. As a black woman, she said it would be devastating how many Americans are voting for a man known for his racist and sexual views.
“I see a country where I have never seen a place,” he cried on the night of 2016, “very honestly, when my ancestors built it.”
Four years after that, it only fostered hatred and divisions in the country, causing his sentiment to become even less welcome and frightening. Now, he said, he is well aware that the election of a female vice president did not expect sexual or misconceptions to disappear, eliminating racism for more than eight years as a black president.
“I think the last four years have got a glowing light on something that has always been there, only a reflection of Trump’s country, and not the other way around,” he said. “It is clear that we are not far from that ugly reality of America.
‘We have been restructured’
But it’s very sad, Robertson said, which left his feeling stressed.
“Four years ago, I felt like I was being pushed out of the way and I had no place,” he said. “The way I feel now is that taking my place in the country is my job. I think I deserve it. I will force it to do so.”
Wendy Souls feels the same resolution. “We have been restructured,” he said. “Our shirt is rolled up.”
But at 59, he suggests, Harris’ election is less than epoch-making, and cause for rejoicing. It may be a generational thing, but she can’t help but rejoice in the glass-filled area.
“It’s a big, big, big achievement that is so deeply ingrained in who we are,” he said. “Every step should be celebrated,” he said.
No one should say, “This is only the vice president,” instead, he said, “Thank God, we did this so far.”