Collected Thoughts Surrounding the Election from an Iranian-American Girl



Scott Olson

The 2020 presidential race was a historical event, with the most votes received for a presidential candidate as well as the first woman of color to occupy the office of Vice President. To many, the Biden-Harris campaign signifies a dawn of hope and prosperity, of living in a world where anything is possible. Photo Courtesy of Scott Olson

In cascades, it felt as if four years of paralyzing fear collapsed. The air encompassing me had not changed but now it was serene and warm. That frigid body of hate was no longer layered within it- it was as if the world was in chaos one instant and soaked in blissful quiet the next. The contrast was stark. Shades of comforting sunlight seemed to bathe my very existence, the beams of sun now glowing and radiant, no longer glaring and intense. My eyes locked on the screen, a Biden-Harris victory, states once red dazzling in shades of blue. I was enviorgated, yelling in unfiltered happiness.

I was catapulted then to many occasions across the years, all that occurred as I watched the TV intently. Peering into the scrawling text on the screen, I witnessed men in suits, serious expressions etched upon their faces. My eyes reflected the fluorescent light of the TV, but to my dismay there was not a singular woman in sight. I saw no one who resembled me; dark haired, dark eyed, the daughter of immigrant parents. As I grew, I retained the sense that no one who was like me could be a well respected and great leader. I had never seen it.

A booming voice on the TV announced the win definitively. Tears swelled within my eyes, words unable to form tangible structure. Kamala Harris is to be the first woman vice president as well as the first Asian American and Black vice president. As an Iranian American girl, young and certainly highly opinionated, seeing a woman occupy one of the most highly regarded offices in the nation had been for my rather short life time a glorious dream I wished to see carried out. When morphed from the golden strands of possibility into reality, this dream is realized. When you see yourself represented it’s as if the world beckons you to follow in the footsteps of the visionaries, the pathway sprinkled with opportunity.

You see men in leadership positions, and it’s almost as if you have normalized how often they are selected and deemed the most capable. We gaze with admiration at the women who break down the crystalline bubble society has imposed and thrive, sometimes being the only woman in the room. In our tumultuous yet awe-inspiring history, spanning more than two centuries, we have in this dire moment elected the first female vice president. It’s glorious that we did so now, yet truly upsetting that while we praise the notions of democracy and equality, we have never had a woman vice president, let alone a woman president before. Women, despite being highly capable, eloquent, and dedicated leaders, have never been selected to fill the seat of Commander in Chief.

Seeing Vice President Elect Kamala Harris on the screen, her eyes glowing with the promise of a more prosperous nation, reduced me to tears, breaths unable to swell within my lungs. The first vice president who is the daughter of an immigrant. I could envision myself up there. I’ve never held aspirations to be president but I dream in vivid hues to one day serve as an influential leader, similar to the likes of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I saw myself represented, along all the young girls and women who feel that their ideas may be seen as too brash or too weighty for the world. It shows we are full of capability, that despite this pestering voice, either from ourselves or others, that we are brave, enduring trials beyond simplification.

I often contemplate the nation a century ago, when women fought with conviction to obtain the simple yet powerful right to vote, their voices resonating in the streets. They sought solely for something their white male counterparts were guaranteed long before. Even when the 19th Amendment passed, it faltered and failed to encapsulate all women, not allowing many to vote and engage in this fundamental pillar of democracy. Voting may seem like a concrete right and privilege now, but it’s due to the luminaries who initiated this continuous trek for equality. Those who aimed to make the democracy we so praise, all we claim it is.

The Biden-Harris administration signifies not perfection but hope, compassion, and civility. It is monumental for many reasons- for Harris’ historic election, but also for the highest votes ever obtained by a presidential candidate, illustrating the power of the vote, and its chance to restore a faith in America that for four polarized and fear drenched years had been absent for so many. The American people live in division but the new administration doesn’t seek to stoke the same aggression and hate that reigned.

It doesn’t mean that aggression and discord are banished or cease to exist any longer. However, it exemplifies that humanity is present, even in the most grim of times. The country will still be shadowed by fear and discrimination and reasonably need to undergo growth. But with this new administration there is a surge of possibility, a reclaiming of dignity and hopefully a step in the right direction on many issues that segment our nation into factions.

Women, girls, and minorities benefit from being represented through Harris’ election, whether or not they agree 100% with her and her ideologies. They see the possibilities, witness them in real life and observe that “yes it is possible ”; that this dreamed figment can be attained. Representation, especially for women, is so critical so they see that they can obtain leadership positions and execute their responsibilities with the drive and capability they possess.

In a sea of men in a political function, seeing one woman emerge from the masses may be a heartbreaking sight because they seem few in number. But this shows that women are resilient and their smaller involvement in political scenes is not due to a lack of shining qualities but male dominated institutions. Seeing themselves represented will ignite a desire to join the women who stood as trailblazers and defied opposition and being undermined.

Seeing President Elect Biden up on the stage, I saw a kindness in his eyes and a compelling energy. Vice President Elect Kamala Harris joined him along with both of their families. I saw the glimmer of the America I knew existed, the one that had been sequestered for a while. It was not blind hope reflected in my eyes but the gorgeous shade of possibility, of change.