Other Firsts We’d Like To See In Congress
Sure, this Congress is diverse, but how about a rapper, a GenXYer and others
As the 113th Congress was sworn in last week, talk was not of the tasks the new class of congressmen and women have ahead, but of its extraordinary diversity.
This Congress has its first openly lesbian senator, its first Hindu member, more Latino members and more female senators than ever before, and, of course, Tim Scott, the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction.
But there are more firsts to be had and records to break. What about swearing in two or more black female senators in a future session? What about an only gay black congressman? What about – GASP! – a black Speaker of the House?
And why does any of that matter, you might ask? This Congress is indeed the most diverse body to be sworn in, but it still comes up short when you compare it to the diversity of the entire U.S. In 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with over 311 million people living in the U.S., the country was 63 percent white, nearly 17 percent Hispanic, about 13 percent black and 5 percent Asian.
Given that spread, the U.S. Senate would need more than just Scott as the sole African American, and more than just the few Latinos, currently serving amongst the 100. The same could be said for the House of Representatives, which does a better job in terms of diversity, given candidates do not have to run statewide races, where the ethnic and political makeup can vary drastically from their home districts.
To be truly representative of every race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion, the nation’s political parties and voters have some work and candidate grooming to do. Here, a few ideas for "firsts" we’d like to see in a future session.
View them in the gallery above.