Somewhere Out There is Our First Female President
By Madeleine Lapuerta (Harvard College Undergraduate)
When hundreds of Harvard freshmen crowded among the tables of the dining hall early Tuesday evening, watching the election was something greatly anticipated. Some were calmly doing homework while others refreshed their Internet browsers every twenty seconds, checking the New York Times predictions and keeping a sharp eye on the DOW. As the night continued, however, the predominantly liberal Harvard community began to feel a sense of panic. NYT’s projections weren’t looking very blue, and Trump’s electoral numbers made it clear we weren’t about to see our first female president. Most of us left the dining hall around midnight; some crying, some huddled in large embraces, and nearly everyone speechless. Regardless of for whom one voted, the unexpected had just happened, as “Trump Triumphs” quickly made the headline of every major national newspaper.
I was never the biggest Hillary supporter. Coming to Harvard, I knew I would stick out when I told my friends I am a registered Republican. However, I am a republican who has never, and never will, support Donald Trump. In fact, the mere thought that somebody assumes I align myself with Trump solely due to my political party association disgusts me. I am a woman, I am Hispanic, and I deserve better than a president who believes my immigrant family is worthless and that I am susceptible to be “grabbed” by any man who wishes to do so.
However, even though I was never extremely pro-Hillary, here’s why I am absolutely devastated by her loss:
I attended an all girls’ school for twelve years, where I was able to feel empowered by the women around me, and the women teaching me. Never once did I feel I could not do something solely due to my being a woman. In fact, I felt like I could achieve anything I wanted because I am a woman. Pamela was the student government president. Harley was the captain of the lacrosse team. Isabella was the smartest girl in our grade. Everyone I witnessed in positions of leadership and power was a female, and it was damn awesome. Tuesday morning, the idea that the last glass ceiling could be about to be shattered, that a woman could actually become the president of the United States, rendered me intensely passionate for what could occur just a couple of hours ahead. Yet, seeing an unqualified, hateful, misogynistic man who conducts himself with utmost amounts of arrogance win the presidency over a qualified, experienced, poised woman sickens me, and has entirely warped my perception of self.
When I raise my hand in class to ask a question, am I taken seriously? When I run for leadership positions, do people even consider the legitimacy of my ideas? When I sit in a lecture hall taking an exam, does there exist the immediate assumption that I am not as smart as the men around me? The community here at Harvard is inclusive and supportive, but the majority of the country may not consider me with the same appreciation, or any appreciation at all.
I cannot fathom a world where women are not powerful, where women do not spark change, and where our voices are not as legitimate as those of our male counterparts. I was raised knowing that I can be whatever I want to be, and I will not abandon this mindset. Not now, and not ever. Hillary Clinton inspired me not because of her particular viewpoints, but because she was an exemplification of a country rid of sexism and empowered, not threatened, by women.
Tuesday night, our nation was altered. I, however, will not allow myself to feel defeated. I will continue to stand up for what I feel is right, I will continue to support the wonderful, brilliant women around me, and I will continue to believe that my goals can one day be a reality. Thank you, Hillary Clinton, for being a woman to whom we can all look up, and for being a role model for girls like me.
Somewhere in this country is our first female president, and I can’t wait to see who she is.