The 116th Congress and its Glorious Diversity


Photo Credit: Pew Research Center

Aidan Athanasio, Contributor

Everyone has an opinion on the President: some like him, some hate him. Either way, there is a light amid this dramatic government shutdown, we can now say that the 116th is most diverse in history. According to USA Today, “It [Congress] is professionally and racially diverse, the most female, the most openly LGBT and a far more youthful than the past ”. We now have,”… in the house, 106 women, compared with the 2015 record of 92, and 115 minority members, compared with the 2015 record of 105. What’s more is that despite the fact the number of veterans in Congress has been going down historically, this Congress has the largest number of new members who’ve served on the military in over a decade – 19”, says the Washington Post. With more women, minorities, and veterans, this Congress is a historical one.

This diversity is a huge step in politics for the United States. Something to take note of is that diversity in government is quite prevalent in other countries, but surprisingly not ours. “Since the 1960s, 61 countries have had a woman in a leading role”, says CNN. So, in terms of women in government positions, along with other groups, we are behind. As we continue to catch up with the rest of the world, an action we as a country aren’t familiar with, there is more and more involvement in politics among citizens. Diversity gets people all over the country to vote for people who they believe will represent them, and gives us a well rounded Congress that will make the decisions of its people.

People like Ilhan Omar, a freshman member of the House of Representatives, and Somali-American woman from Minnesota. And Kyrsten Sinema, an openly bisexual Senator from Arizona. And many more people like this are either making an impact now or will be in the future.

This diversity we see in Congress right now is unifying and inspiring. Putting as many different people as possible from all over the United States and making sure everyone feels represented moves us as a nation towards a society in which change can occur. And if a child looks at a picture of Congress now in all its glorious diversity, and says, ”They look like me!”, which makes it even more worth it.