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Tuesday Night Brought a Wave of Victories for Women and People of Color in this Country

by Micah Wilkins, Editor-in-Chief

I, along with many others from the Wilson community, breathed a huge sigh of relief Tuesday night when the results began to roll in: Barack Obama will serve another term as President, and that is a good thing for America.

Another four years with Obama as President means a lot of things for a lot of people. Roe v. Wade will not be overturned. Health reform will not be repealed. Medicare will not go away. Taxes will not be cut for millionaires. We will not be “self deporting.” Students will have ways to pay for school other than simply “borrowing from their parents.”

But another element that is equally as important as these issues is the fact that the reelection of Barack Obama means four more years of a black President.

Obama delivered his victory speech Tuesday night and, as usual, he was hopeful.

“That’s why elections matter,” he said to a crowd of thousands of supporters in Chicago. “It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important.”

This was an important election indeed. It represents a continuation of the huge, progressive leap this country made when we elected Obama in 2008. Having a person of color in the oval office has made me more proud of my country than anything else ever has.

People of color can finally look at the most important leader of our country and not see an old white man.

On Tuesday, in addition to the President’s victory, I celebrated a slew of other victories. They were not only victories for Democrats, they were victories for women and people of color. More women were elected to the Senate than ever before in American history.

Nevada elected its first black congressman. Wisconsin elected the first ever openly gay Senator. Senator Claire McCaskill defeated Todd Akin (who made notorious remarks on “legitimate rape” early on in his campaign) by 16 points in my home state of Missouri. My hometown of Kansas City re-elected our black representative for a fifth term.

It feels good to be represented by a lone blotch of blue among a sea of red in the two places that I call home: Jackson county in Missouri and Buncombe county here in North Carolina.

I celebrated the victories of the women and people of color in the House, the Senate and the presidency, but even with all of these victories, the House and the Senate are still not representative of the demographics of this country. Our governing bodies are mostly male and mostly white, but the constituents are not.

With 435 Representatives in the House, only 77 are women. If this body accurately reflected the population, there would be three times as many congresswomen than there are now. There are currently no African Americans in the Senate, and there have only been six total to date, Obama being one of them. After he was elected as President, his departure left a color gap in the Senate, but his entry into the White House was a huge step forward for this country.

After Tuesday’s elections, things are looking good for America, but we have a long way to go.

Our next milestone: electing a woman President.

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