I don’t know about you, but my nervous system just sighed deeply with relief. Four years of people in leadership positions promoting terror, hatefulness, anger, fighting, not caring for the American people and showing no responsibility for their role in the divisiveness that has torn not just Americans, but people around the world, apart.
We have witnessed what great pathology and destruction can do to humanity, how it can tear down the pieces of a society that we need in order to live together.
Many of us have been on trauma alert, feeling the effects and stress of harm done and harm promised over and over.
What we have been experiencing is an angry, abusive father, who is himself traumatized and is reproducing his own trauma over and over on the people he is meant to serve. This father/controller dynamic has activated our systems in many detrimental ways.
He is out. New leadership has taken its rightful place at the helm of this ship, fairly won in a democratic election. Never have I appreciated democracy more than I do right now.
And the big news of the day is that, at long last, after so many centuries, finally, a woman is in the Oval Office as second in command, a trusted visionary to lead us out of this mess we have been steeped in.
As Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn in, I stood there holding my pan of eggs, tearing up, feeling the choke of waiting so long to see an image of myself in a trusted executive position, a woman who can hold her power and do what is right.
We have waited way too long for women to be in political leadership positions to such a degree that it can truly make a difference for our world.
Women, people of color and young people have needed to see images of ourselves in powerful positions that can make a difference. The fresh crop of diverse female senators and congresswomen over the last four years has been a balm. Seeing women fill nearly half of the Supreme Court is important and this here, is momentous.
There is great debate about whether men and women are naturally different kinds of leaders, or whether our differences in leadership have more to do with our perspectives because of the historical power structures and our place in them.
Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders, Liswood has discussed the “mouse and elephant” in the room in terms of the gender dynamics that can be a huge part of the differences in leadership styles of men and women.
Because the women have been the minority for so long (the mice) without great political power, and the men (elephants) have had all the power and voice for so long, we have developed very different sensitivities to constituents, stakeholders, and those we might actually represent, as well as different mechanisms for leadership because of that perspective.
In other words, are women necessarily more compassionate leaders? Or are we more compassionate because we have had to look at all perspectives to understand the inner workings of power in order to survive?
Whether our leadership styles are innately different in some ways, or socialized because of our history with power structures, what is clearly important is that we have women representing us—for so many reasons.
Yes, little girls get to see VP Harris and know they have every opportunity to be who they want to be.
And, how ‘bout we also focus on all us grown women who need to know that too?
We need to feel our voices are heard, that the unfairness and misogyny we have faced will be taken seriously and addressed, and that sexism will be confronted.
Just as we need to see that our leaders will address racism and white supremacy, which is the biggest social ill in the U.S. right now. Indeed, it has been for centuries, it simply has not been named for the problematic illness and terrorism it really is until now.
I feel hopeful. I feel grateful. VP Kamala Harris is not perfect. She has harshly penalized and harmed sex workers by going after them, and she put a lot of men of color in prison for drug charges that are now being rescinded. Those people cannot get all that time back.
I believe everyone can grow and see their past mistakes and learn from them, and I hope she will do so for the ways she let her power supersede the rights of some of the most vulnerable in our society.
What I also know is that she is wise, experienced, powerful, unrelenting, and committed to justice. And she is the first woman to stand in the position of executive power—and given the 50/50 Senate, she will be the tie-breaker on some critical votes over the next two years, and perhaps beyond.
Today we get to feel seen, to know that the voice of the people has been heard, to trust that we have political advocates who will hold the tenants of our democracy as dear and precious, and that they will fiercely protect our dignity and human rights.
I hope this will lead us towards real electoral change, as we saw the power of focusing on voting rights in Georgia and what a small group of committed Black women, with Stacey Abrams at the helm, are capable of creating.
We can all cause that kind of revolutionary change. We all need to take our seats at the table, stay vigilant and hold our leaders accountable to the needs of We the People. Every single one of us has a role to play in this.
You and me.
How will you work to create a better world for us all in the coming months and years? I will be asking myself this deep question over and over. What can I do?
Today I am grateful, I am teary as I write this, and I know this is the beginning of a new era. We will not turn back. The Women are Coming.