What Could Have Been: November 8, 2016
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Journalists, in an effort to deliver the news to you as quickly as possible, frequently draft articles in advance of the event being covered actually taking place. Unfortunately, the future can be unpredictable at times. Headed into November 8, 2016 – Election Day in the United States – it seemed apparent that Hillary Clinton would become the 45th President of the United States. As such, I concentrated my efforts on securing credentials for her campaign’s event in New York City, and wrote what I thought would be a template that I could tweak throughout the night.
Of course, as we all know, Donald Trump is now the President-elect. My article will never be accurate. But what if the results had been different on Election Night? What if rather than an angry orange with no government experience, we elected an extremely qualified (and emotionally stable) woman to be the next leader of our country? We can only imagine what effect that would have had on the world as a whole, however the article written for the expected results of the election, included below, may give us a glimpse into what it would have been like.
Subject: Glass Ceiling. Status: Shattered.
Hillary Clinton has not shied away from acknowledging her historic candidacy. When her opponent launched attacks claiming that she was playing the Woman Card, she fired back by saying that “if fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the ‘woman card,’ then deal me in,” before proceeding to sell an actual “Woman Card” on her website. Now, her historic campaign comes to a close as she makes history once and for all. Hillary Clinton is the first ever female President of the United States.
Let that sink in for a moment. After hundreds of years of being held to a different standard than men, 96 years after getting the right to vote and 36 years after beginning to vote in similar numbers to men, we have a female President.
Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, male or female, gay or straight, Clintonian, Trumpeter, or Berner, or any other combination of differing traits, you should be proud of this moment. This moment goes far beyond, means far more than, Hillary Clinton. Even if you buy into the various conspiracy theories surrounding her and her candidacy, having a female as President is a major step forward for not only our country, but for our society as a whole. No longer are there little girls sitting at their desks in history class, learning about all of the former Presidents, thinking to themselves that they cannot one day reach that office themselves. To them, thanks to Clinton, anything is possible.
“Now little girls like myself can see that it’s possible for even a girl to be elected as President,” said Amariyanna ‘Mari’ Copeny, more commonly known as Little Miss Flint. “Until now it was a job that seemed to only be for men, but now anything is possible.”
It’s not just little girls who have had a sense of hope ignited within them, either. Some people, such as 99-year old, lifelong Republican Mary Parker, have been waiting their whole lives for this moment.
“It’s about time we give women a chance to clean up the messes men have made,” says Parker.
While neither of these supporters were able to make it to New York to attend Hillary for America’s event, which several have referred to as a “Victory Rally” of sorts, thousands of ticketed guests did join the party.
At 5:30 PM, doors to the building – which has a literal glass ceiling, lit in blue for the evening – are opened and thousands of supporters begin filing their way inside, hoping to secure a location close to the stage. Inside, a large television screen plays the major news networks – CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, etc. – in addition to some of Clinton’s best campaign videos from her YouTube channel.
Audience members stand for several hours, watching results pour in, cheering when Democrats take a state, and booing when they lose one. One by one, states are called for Hillary. Around 9 PM, it is announced that Democrats are expected to take control of the Senate with a one seat majority (two if you count the Vice President and Hillary Clinton is victorious). Then, just before 9:30 PM, the announcement comes: Hillary Clinton is the projected winner of the 2016 election, and will become the 45th President of the United States. Thunderous applause fills the room, as chants of “we made history” and “yes we can” break out through the convention center. Supporters get word via Twitter that President-elect Hillary Clinton, former President and future First Gentleman Bill Clinton, and two-time First Daughter Chelsea Clinton are en route to the convention center, along with Vice President-elect Tim Kaine and his wife, future Second Lady Anne Holton.
Joyful audience members sing along to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”; the excitement can be felt growing stronger as the minutes tick by and the future First Family gets closer to the convention center.
Pharrell Williams, a vocal Clinton supporter, takes the stage – which is shaped to look like the United States – to perform his song, “Freedom”, which has been in the campaign’s playlist since July. Minutes later, Beyonce and Jay Z – both also having campaigned for Clinton in the final days of the election – take the stage, giving a brief concert of their own to supporters. Finally, Katy Perry takes the stage, and starts playing the song. The song everybody has been waiting for. Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” – which has become Hillary for America’s unofficial campaign theme – rings through the building, bouncing off of the glass walls and ceiling. Once again, Earth-shattering applause breaks out, as hundreds of people can be seen with tears in their eyes, overwhelmed by the moment; the first female President has taken the stage, history has been made.
“We are clear-eyed about what our country is up against. But we are not afraid. We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have. We will not build a wall. Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good paying job can get one. And we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy! We will not ban a religion. We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight terrorism. There’s a lot of work to do. Too many people haven’t had a pay raise since the crash. There’s too much inequality. Too little social mobility. Too much paralysis in Washington. Too many threats at home and abroad,” Clinton said. “But just look at the strengths we bring to meet these challenges. We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world. We have the most tolerant and generous young people we’ve ever had. We have the most powerful military. The most innovative entrepreneurs. The most enduring values. Freedom and equality, justice and opportunity. We should be so proud that these words are associated with us. That when people hear them – they hear… America.”
After Vice President-elect Kaine, future First Gentleman Clinton, and President-elect Clinton finish their emotional speeches, Katy Perry takes the stage once again, this time to sing her own “Firework”, as real fireworks begin erupting over the Hudson River. Lights in the Javits Center are dimmed, and everybody watches the red, white, and blue explosions through the glass ceiling which has just been metaphorically shattered, offering oohhs and aahhs with each detonation.