History is a funny thing. It’s a story, a record, of humanity’s evolution. It grows, morphs, skews, disappears, and reappears. It charms us, teaches us, frustrates us, amuses us, fascinates us. And, sometimes, it happens to us.
I am sixteen years old. I wasn’t around to see women get their vote, or slaves their freedom. I--thankfully--didn’t live through the Great Depression, or either of the World Wars. I didn’t watch Neil Armstrong walk across the moon, or President Kennedy be brutally assassinated.
But I remember when the first iPhone was released. I remember hearing about the first self-driving car and, later, the first self-driving car accident. I can recall a time when flat screen TV’s were not yet ubiquitous, and when pointing your Wii remote at the TV to control your cursor was still new technology. And that’s just the pop culture tip of the history iceberg.
In fourth grade, I had to do a school project on the 2008 elections, when the words Democrat and Republican held no connotation for me. Not only did I not understand what anything meant, I had no idea how monumental it was that Barack Obama, America’s first black president, won against John McCain giving hope to millions of African Americans all over the country.
Three years later, in 2011, when Osama Bin Laden was killed, my dad placed the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle down and simply said, “They got him.” It wasn’t until later that I realized how much the “Greatest Manhunt of all Time” had reaffirmed America’s faith in Obama, the CIA, and the military.
Then, on April 15, 2013, my mom asked me if I had heard anything about what had happened that day. When I said I wasn’t sure, she told me about the Boston Marathon bombing, which spiked national panic that later transformed into a haze of sadness as stories of those injured and killed became public.
The morning that the Supreme Court announced their ruling on same-sex marriage was the beginning of a day of celebration, capped by the White House being lit up in rainbow colors. Prior to the peak of excitement and pride, I was in the car listening to the morning news on the radio with my dad. When we got to our destination, he parked the car, turned to me, and said, “you’re living this history.”
Just months ago, after hearing about the Orlando shooting, I saw a June edition of People’s Magazine titled “Faces of Orlando” and covered with an array of victims’ photos, and I was overcome by an intense disappointment that there are still people in this world who feel the need to commit such acts of violence.
And that’s not all. Every headline or news segment about the Black Lives Matter Movement, ISIS, Greece, Brexit, Kate Middleton, David Bowie, Pope Francis, Caitlyn Jenner, and yes, finally, the 2016 presidential candidates: it’s all history and it’s happening to me, to us.
So recently, I watched Hillary Clinton become the first woman to be a major party presidential nominee. And I’ve been keeping an eye on the abundance of news surrounding Donald Trump. All I can say is, whatever happens, whatever the outcome, this election, and the resulting presidency, is sure to be one for the history books.