Madam Vice President

With her inauguration next week, students and faculty comment on first female vice president-elect

Kamala+Harris+and+Joe+Biden+will+be+inaugurated+on+Jan.+20.

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Kamala Harris and Joe Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

Catherine Diel, Social Media Manager

Kamala Harris became the first female, first Black, first South Asian United States Vice President-elect on  Nov. 7 when she and President-elect Joe Biden were announced as projected winners of the 2020 Presidential Election by Associated Press News.

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris said in her first address to the nation as Vice President-elect. 

Harris is a first of many, making this election revolutionary. 

Junior Meredith Lindsey was nervous—butterflies slapping the inside of her stomach nervous—about the election due to living in a primarily pro-Trump area. However, she feels amazing about the result.

“It means a lot to me that Kamala Harris has been named the first POC (person of color) and woman as a Vice President,” Lindsey said. “While it’s amazing to see huge changes, I also think about the fact that it’s 2020 and she’s the first in office. It’s crazy to think that women have been able to vote for 100 years and just now our voices are truly being heard and taken into consideration in politics.”

It’s crazy to think that women have been able to vote for 100 years and just now our voices are truly being heard and taken into consideration in politics”

— Junior Meredith Lindsey

Lindsey believes Harris being elected is a step towards empowerment in office, no matter the gender of the person serving, and that the notion of women not being allowed in office due to emotions or feelings towards subjects has now been diminished.

“I think that with Kamala Harris in the White House helping to break the stereotype that women are too emotional or not qualified enough is really going to help young girls all around the world recognize and utilize their full potential,” Lindsey said. 

While she is pleased with the election results, Lindsey still feels that there is serious work to be done, especially regarding racism and general lack of respect. In the past few weeks, Lindsey reports seeing multiple accounts of racial injustice, and mocking/bullying of members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

“The presidential election is only covering up the problems we continue to face, and the problems will eventually resurface again because they are such a big deal,” Lindsey said. “I know the school is claiming to fight against these issues; it just seems that those efforts have not served a large enough purpose as I continue to hear these things.”

Lindsey hopes the U.S. will begin to unite again, after being divided by COVID-19 and the election. 

“There are so many things the country needs to sort out, and I hope having confident and well-informed people in office will help to push those changes,” Lindsey said. 

Counselor Ayanna Bush pointed out that while the two presidential candidates are among the oldest running for office, the election was directed by the nation’s youth. 

“It is inspiring to hear and see what and how young people are proposing to make sure their voice is heard in America,” Bush said. “If you look at history, it is always the young people that are agents of change.” 

It is inspiring to hear and see what and how young people are proposing to make sure their voice is heard in America. If you look at history, it is always the young people that are agents of change”

— Counselor Ayanna Bush

Bush hopes the media attention caused by the election motivates students to make their voices heard by voting. She believes voting is a powerful tool students can use to express their opinions without critics.

“Hopefully, this encourages students turning 18 this year to register to vote,” Bush said.

Junior Kayleigh Klinksiek sees empowerment in having our first female Vice President-elect. She feels there is more representation for young girls everywhere who have never seen women in that kind of position of power. 

“I hope that this will bring a long line of women that will now be a part of our country’s representatives,” Klinksiek said. “I think this will spark change in our country.” 

French and personal finance teacher Linda Hawkins is thrilled at the record voter participation numbers. Despite the NASS (National Association of Secretaries of State) and the NASED (National Association of State Election Directors) finding the 2020 election to be “the most secure in American history,” Hawkins is worried. 

“I am concerned about the corrosive effect that continued conspiratorial thinking or unfounded fraud claims will have on our democratic processes and on our president-elect’s ability to unite the country,” Hawkins said.

Vice President-elect Harris is the daughter of a Jamaican man and an immigrant woman from India; Hawkins is proud that voters demonstrated a step past old racial and gender barriers. Hawkins described Vice President-elect Harris as honorable, decent, and very capable. 

“Kamala Harris will set an example of inclusive leadership in the U.S., and she will more effectively champion our U.S. commitment to human rights abroad,” Hawkins said. 

Coach Shanika Randle feels students witnessing the democratic process and understanding the prevalent issues in the decision was a positive thing. She finds Harris being elected to be “a breath of fresh air.”

“No matter political affiliation, this is a historical milestone for women everywhere,” Randle said. “As a minority woman, I have always heard that there has never been a minority, especially not a woman that has done this job and now she will soon hold the second highest seat in the world.”

Randle believes Harris has given young girls and adult women a desire to continue to strive for excellence. She hopes that students expand their knowledge of governmental procedures, including local elections, gubernatorial races, and Congress.

“It’s time for work to begin,” Randle said. “Our students are our future leaders; the time to train them is now.”

Randle wants everyone to know the American people have a voice through their votes and to be excited for the future. 

“I feel that this will be the time that we will see more minorities and more women and higher seats, as now the glass ceiling has been shattered by her historical feat,” Randle said. 

Counselor Curtis Herring believes that political affiliations aside, this is a historically significant step in politics for our country.

“While politics are important and election years are exciting, we must not forget that each of us can affect important change within our communities and throughout our campus every day,” Herring said.

While politics are important and election years are exciting, we must not forget that each of us can affect important change within our communities and throughout our campus every day”

— Counselor Curtis Herring

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden will be officially sworn in on Jan. 20. 

“I just hope that with growth and acceptance, that the students and faculty at Smithson Valley will grow with the country—not against it.” Lindsey said.