You were in pre-school today, all the way across the country from your grandparents. That's the only reason I didn't take you with me this afternoon. Your absence is the only unfortunate part of an otherwise remarkable day.
I voted for a woman to be the President of the United States.
I didn't see her opponent's name on the ballot; my gaze stopped right at the top. PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES - Clinton/Kane was all that I could read. There were tears, FlapJilly, real wet tears in my eyes.
The world is a far more accommodating place right now than it was when I was 2. You'll never need a man to co-sign a loan or a credit card application. No salesman will refuse to talk to you without your husband standing by your side... no salesman with whom you'd do business, that is. You can secure birth control without a marriage license and a willing gynecologist.
You'll never know a world where race or gender determines whether you can run for office, even for the highest office in the land. This is the piece that touches me most deeply. In my lifetime, a black man has sat in the Oval Office and, fingers crossed and breath bated, a woman will sit there soon. We've gone from Jim Crow and parietal hours to looking beyond the exterior and judging on value and merit.
Is that really true? Are voters choosing policy and content over the externals? I'd like to think so. Perhaps because she's 69, no one has wondered if her menstrual cycle will affect her judgment. Don't laugh, kiddo. That was a major talking point when I was in junior high and high school whenever this issue arose. Hard to imagine, perhaps, but definitely true.
Women were viewed through the lens of biology, deemed inferior because we were different. Disabled people were excluded from public life because steps precluded their entry to the buildings. People of color used separate water fountains. There were quotas not to be exceeded when Jews were considered for admission to our nation's top institutions of higher education; your great-uncle Martin was one of the four Jews at MIT his year. It rankled, but it was our reality.
It wasn't something we talked about, not until the Civil Rights movement woke us up to the fact that major change was possible if right was on your side. It wasn't easy or painless but the fight was the good fight and, burning bras and draft cards aside, it was won with ethical arguments. After all, it's really hard to make a case for exclusions based solely on gender or race.
And so, my darling grand-child, you will never know a world where a woman can't be President and the Cubs can't be in the World Series. Today is a very special day, indeed.
With much love,