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My Daughter Wants To Know Why We've Never Had A Woman President. I Wish I Had Answers02:57
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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., talks with a young girl during a meet and greet after speaking at a campaign event Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Concord, N.H. (Cheryl Senter/AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., talks with a young girl during a meet and greet after speaking at a campaign event Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Concord, N.H. (Cheryl Senter/AP)

My 6-year-old daughter asked me a question over her bowl of Cheerios last week. Her sister was wandering the kitchen, searching for a missing sneaker. Frozen II blared on our Alexa.

“Mom, is it against the rules for a girl to be president?”

No, of course not, I wanted to tell her.

There are no rules against a girl being the president, I wanted to say. Some rules — real or not — are meant to be broken, I thought. Girls can be anything they want to be!

But I hesitated.

We tell them girls are just as good, just as smart, just as tough, just as deserving as boys. I hope I’m not lying.

“There’s no rule,” I said. “There just hasn’t been one yet.”

“Not even in the whole time you’ve been alive?” she followed up.

“No, buddy, never. Not ever. There’s never been a girl president.”

And there won’t be one this year, either.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren was one of six Democratic women who ran for the White House this year.

Those women weren’t the right women to be our president, we’ve been told. It just wasn’t their year, said the pundits.

So, instead, American voters now face a choice between three white men in their 70s.

Everything is fine.

My girls have a quote that hangs in their room, telling them they can be anything they want to be. We read picture books about strong women. We take them to baseball games. We tell them girls are just as good, just as smart, just as tough, just as deserving as boys.

I hope I’m not lying. I hope I’m not setting them up for disappointment; giving them a false sense of confidence about how fair and open the world will be to them.

All roads in my house lead to Anna and Elsa these days. So, here comes Idina Menzel, in a triumphant moment in Frozen II:

Show yourself

I’m dying to meet you

Show yourself

It’s your turn

Maybe. One day.

Sticky notes are placed around the portrait of Elizabeth Warren in Wasserstein Hall at Harvard Law School Thanking her for running for president. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Sticky notes are placed around the portrait of Elizabeth Warren in Wasserstein Hall at Harvard Law School Thanking her for running for president. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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This segment aired on March 6, 2020.

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Cloe Axelson Twitter Editor, Cognoscenti
Cloe Axelson is an editor of WBUR’s opinion page, Cognoscenti.

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