Funny how when I started this whole thing, I hadn’t left my house in months and didn’t know how The Office was going to end. Now here we are, the night before I leave for my junior year of college. I move into my apartment tomorrow, bright and early, in the hopes of staying there for the semester. In all honesty, though, I just need to make it to November 4th.
November 3rd is a big day, and I’ve been waiting for it since the day I started in journalism at BU. The election is like the Super Bowl— months and months of work all culminating in one televised event for the nation to watch. Most of the time, you’re rooting for your team, and, even if you aren’t a fan of either side, you still can’t help but pay attention just to see what happens.
And for those of us involved in covering it, it’s one big sleep-deprived, caffeine-induced, adrenaline-fueled blur.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There were seven months between the time when I turned eighteen and when I could cast my first vote. My very first vote happened to be in the 2018 Midterms, and after having no idea how to request the absentee ballot I would need, I made sure to figure it out after watching the last four and a half minutes of Season 5 Episode 4 of Madam Secretary. I won’t tell you what happens in those four and a half minutes, but I will say the show in its entirety is now on Netflix should you be so curious. I hope you are.
I spent six years worth of Sunday nights glued to my TV for Elizabeth McCord. When the show first aired, I was 14. I’m sure the last thing most fourteen-year-olds want to do on a Sunday night is sit down and watch a political drama on CBS, but I was mesmerized nonetheless. I still am.
“I’ve never met a situation where I don't have a choice in the matter.”
There have only ever been three female secretaries of state. There have been 70 in total since Thomas Jefferson first held the position in 1790. Not great odds, but still better than a few other offices I can think of. The first female Secretary of State was Madeleine Albright under President Clinton. Then it was Condoleezza Rice (she attended the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, named after Albright’s father— stay tuned for more knowledge from Alex’s house of useless facts) under President George W. Bush, and then, of course, perhaps the most well-known of the three under President Obama: Hillary Clinton.
The current Secretary of State is Mike Pompeo, who, no matter how many times I stare at his face, never turns into Elizabeth McCord.
McCord is every bit as bright, quick-witted and confident as you would hope she is. She gives speeches unlike anything you’ve ever heard (I’ve always thought that if I ever were to hold elected or appointed office, I would round up the writers from this show for my team), and in addition to balancing being a mom and a wife (part of what makes the show so endearing) she also manages to save the world every time. I mean, really, what more could you ask for?
Her fatal flaw is that she’s fictional.
Sometimes, you’re lucky enough to find fictional characters based on real people. This was the case with C.J. Cregg on The West Wing— she’s the press secretary for President Bartlet who is based on the very real former press secretary under President Clinton, Dee Dee Myers.
Myers was the first woman to hold the position, yet when I think of the office of the White House Press Secretary, I instinctively think of a woman. Before Myers, I doubt that was the case for a lot of people; the same way that before Madeleine Albright, I doubt many people envisioned a female secretary of state.
It always seems impossible until it is done.
This year is the first time I am eligible to vote in a presidential election. Exactly 100 years ago, Tennessee became the final state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. There was still infinite work to be done on behalf of women of color (shout out the Voting Rights Act of 1965), but what a sweet twist of fate it is to have the first African-American and Asian-American woman on one of the two tickets this year.
Kamala Harris is the third woman to be the vice-presidential nominee of a major party. Before Harris came Sarah Palin in 2008 and Geraldine Ferraro who made history as the very first twenty-four years before Palin.
All this means that, in the 244 years and 45 presidents under which the United States has existed, there has only been a woman on the ticket of a major party four times. Politics aside, you can’t forget Clinton’s historic run in 2016. She may have been the first female presidential nominee on a major party ticket, but I can assure you she won’t be the last.
And, speaking of lasts, it’s been nine months since Madam Secretary aired its final episode. I still go back and watch my favorite ones on Netflix when I need a little inspiration.
Having watched all six seasons of Madam Secretary, I have a pretty good idea of what I imagine Elizabeth McCord is up to these days.
Check out some helpful resources here:
Because I think she’d want you to vote.
I'm Alex, and welcome to my blog. I'm a junior at Boston University where I'm studying broadcast journalism and dabbling in political science. Usually, us journalists write articles and not blogs, but seeing as summer 2020 already hasn't gone according to plan, I missed writing with a purpose. Here you'll find all my thoughts and the words I felt needed to be put to paper (or, immortalized on the internet).