Let’s be honest, an election isn’t exactly a thing that normally brings a lot of joy. I know I was certainly stressed for the past few weeks. Now, I think we can all take a sigh of relief. No matter your political affiliation, I think we can all agree that after this election, and especially after this year, we all deserve a break. So I encourage you to sit back, grab a snack and get ready to feel some joy about some great things that happened during a typically stressful thing.
- Kamala Harris Became the First Female Vice President
As a female that wants to help other people and stand up for what they believe in, this felt monumental! To see another female leader take on a similar task after Hillary Clinton, the first female to appear as a presidential candidate on a ballot, lost, was something I didn’t know I was going to see until Kalama was announced as Biden’s running mate. Also, I would like to point out that she is also the first woman of color to be elected as well because she deserves that credit as well! There are stances that she’s taken in the past that I don’t fully agree with, however, if this election has taught me anything, sometimes you don’t get the choice you want, and that’s where we learn to adjust and grow with what we’re given. I feel so lucky to live in this age and to see such inspiring and liberating role models in positions of power, and I can’t wait to see all that she’s going to do and help, because yes she is a she, and she’s going to kick ass!
- A Record Number of Native American Officials Have Been Elected to Congress
Six Native American House candidates won their races in this year’s race! Of the six officials, three are Democrats, three are Republicans, three are women and three are men. This means that the 117th Congress will have more Native Americans than any previous Congress! New Mexico Republican Yvette Herrell and Hawaii Democrat Kaiali’i Kahele were both elected, with Kehele being only the second Native Hawaiian lawmaker to represent the state in Congress since Hawaii became a state in 1959.
- The Actual Process of the Election
This election was historic in so many ways, and I’ve only been alive for a few, however, this process was something that was, to say the least, rare. We witnessed an entire country refresh a map for five days, and although it’s not the longest election in history, it definitely felt like it could’ve been. This year alone made history in more categories than most of us would probably like to admit, but hey, we’re going to have a lot of stories on how we became stronger, right? This year, a projected 161 million Americans voted in the presidential election, making it the most voted election in over a century. So, if you voted this year, wear that “I Voted” sticker with pride, you deserve it!
- A Historic Number of LGBTQ+ Candidates Were Elected
More LGBTQ+ candidates ran for office this year than ever before! To give you a reference, that’s a 41% increase over the 2018 midterms. In Delaware, Sarah McBride won a state senate seat, making her the highest-ranking transgender elected official, as well as the first openly transgender person to serve in a state senate anywhere in the nation! Also, before this year’s election cycle, there were three states that had no openly LGBTQ-elected officials at any level of government, but after November 3 that number went down to two, with Hawaii electing Adrian tam, the first openly LGBTQ elected official. Last year, in 2019, the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials stood at just below 700, while this year that number switched to at least 1,006, with reports still coming in. Here’s to more on the way!
- “I Voted!”
I apologize for the selfishness of this choice, but I waited 20 years to vote, and I’m not about to disregard it! I did, however, also want to include this one for all the other first-time voters as well! It made my heart so happy to see posts and tweets and just pure excitement of people that were voting for the first time, regardless of age. Because this year’s election had more voters than ever, this also feels very significant to include for those that also just voted at all, even if they make a point to vote every two or four years or never at all until now. Getting to have a say in how things as significant as a country is run is something that I don’t believe any of us should take for granted if we’re presented with the opportunity to do so.
- Bonus: The First Dog is a Rescue!
I didn’t want to include this in the formal list because technically it happened after, but it just gave me too much joy to not share! I love dogs (too much), and it made me so immensely happy to see that the first rescue dog is going to be taking home in the white house. It’s especially adorable to think about their older dog, Champ, who’s already been to the white house, when Biden was the vice president, and how he’s going to show the new rescue dog, Major, around. I know this is absolutely ridiculous, but nothing brings me more joy. I also am a big advocate for rescuing dogs rather than getting them from breeders, so this felt very heartwarming.
These are just a few of the amazing things that are changing for the better among the chaos, and as always there’s more to come! So here’s to moving forward, educating ourselves for the better, and, of course, growing with each other. Here’s to a wonderful four years, whatever that may entail!