To the tones of Mary J. Blige’s “Work That”, Kamala Harris confidently walks the stage. Keep your head upBlige sings, among other things, and Harris definitely sings. The 55-year-old daughter of immigrants, from Jamaica and India, proudly and confidently presented herself to all Americans on Saturday night as the country’s 49th Vice President: the first woman to serve and the first person of black and Asian descent.
Radiate confidence and ambition. She inherited it from her mother, she often said in interviews. Shyamala Gopalan arrived in the United States in 1958 at the age of 19 and became a researcher in biomedical sciences at the University of Berkeley in California. There she met Donald J. Harris, a Jamaican who later became a professor of economics at Stanford University.
Harris is not interested in science, but rather in legal practice. She worked for the State Department in California, where she rose to the highest position. In 2017 she became a member of the US Senate. Her career didn’t necessarily make her popular with the progressive Democrats; Harris has always stressed the importance of enforcing strict law. She is against the death penalty, but prefers to present practical and financial arguments over principled arguments.
A hard blow to Trump
In her speech in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Harris ponders American democracy, which she believes should not be taken for granted. Black politician and civil rights leader John Lewis quotes “American democracy is as strong as we are willing to fight for it.” Without using negative words, she dealt a heavy blow to President Donald Trump: “Our democracy was on the ballot.”
She thanks voters and continues to be associated with Joe Biden, the old white man who had the “nerve” to choose her as the running mate. Then, without seeming in vain, she puts herself on the base: “I think of my mother and the generations of black, Asian, white, Latina and Native American women who paved the way for this moment. I’m on their shoulders.”
No major has been named, neither Geraldine Ferraro, who was the first vice president in 1984, and certainly not Sarah Palin, the hated left-wing colleague of Republican John McCain in 2008. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, lost to Donald Trump four years ago, and has not been mentioned. Harris, in huge chants, did not mention “black women who are the backbone of our democracy.”
But she admits that the real work has yet to start. She and President Biden need action, although now is not the time to launch concrete plans. She prefers to look to future generations who have more work to do, and she hopes to lead by example. It invites all children to “dream with ambition and drive with conviction”. “I might be the first woman in this office, but I won’t be the last. Any little girl who watches tonight sees this as a land of opportunity.”
Kamala Harris is more than just color for Biden
With Kamala Harris selected as Vice President, Joe Biden faced important groups and wings in the Democratic Party. But incoming Vice President Harris is more than that: she can take over from Biden.
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