I never considered myself to be a true American citizen until I cast my first official ballot as a registered voter. Having been born in Canada, I acquired my United States citizenship from my American mother. And although I’ve lived, worked, and gone to school in the U.S. over the course of the last eighteen years, any feeling of national pride I’ve ever felt has been towards Canada. I didn’t expect voting in the primaries to change the way I felt about my dual citizenship, but when I cast my ballot in the historic election that would make Hillary Clinton the first female presidential nominee from a major political party, I felt like I had contributed something to the nation. My vote was valued in that election, and so I, as a citizen of the United States, was valued too.
Except I didn’t vote for Hillary. I voted for Bernie. And now, as Hillary continues to prove that it is in fact possible to break the glass ceiling, I am overcome with pride and excitement that I might live to see our nation’s first female president. But also, quite honestly, I have felt a fair amount of guilt that it wasn’t my vote that put her there. There’s a small part of me that felt obligated to vote for Hillary from the beginning, simply because she is a woman. Voting for her in the primaries would have meant supporting the possibility of a female president. But that’s the problem with this whole election: it shouldn’t have taken us this long to get here in the first place.
It shouldn’t be historic that a woman might finally be president. It shouldn’t be a momentous occasion to see a woman take the stage at the Democratic National Convention. It should be normal, because men and women should be equal. We always should have been equal. And although it is a shame that even now, nearly one hundred years after suffragettes earned us the right to vote, we are not considered equal to men under the law, it is not too late to make a change to this country. We cannot break the stigma that women are less than men unless we keep fighting to prove what we are worth. Hillary Clinton is not just a woman; she is educated, experienced, and quite frankly the only qualified nominee between the two political parties. As a United States citizen – and as a woman – I stand by her. She has my vote.