Electing Hillary Would Not Be a Milestone

Many people including the candidates themselves have noted the historical significance of the fact that the Democratic nominee for President will be an African American or a woman.  The election of either one of them in November would mark a milestone in the history of the United States.  However, I do not think these two milestones would be equally important. 

While it is true that Hillary Clinton would be America’s first woman President, her election would not be unprecedented when viewed in the broader context of world history since many women have already been elected to lead other countries.  Examples include the following: Indira Ghandi of India, Golda Meir of Israel, Margaret Thatcher of the Britain, Gro Harlem Bruntland of Norway, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, Angela Merkel of Germany, and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina.  In fact, a total of 46 women were elected Prime Minister or President of their countries in the 20th century according to this website about the history of women.

In my opinion, electing a black man like Barack Obama President would be a bigger milestone in a country where African Americans are a minority and were once slaves.  While the U.S.  adult population is split evenly between men and women, 73.9% of its population is white and only 12.4% is African American.  Barack Obama can only be elected President if large numbers of white people vote for him.  His election would demonstrate to people around the world that America really does believe in the ideas of democracy, equality, liberty and freedom for all that we always proclaim.


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