I Am a Progressive, and I Am Thrilled That Kamala Harris Is Our Next VP
We don’t have to agree on every policy to admit that she is the right choice
I am pro-Medicare for All. I believe a Green New Deal should be the absolute baseline for climate policy and that public colleges should be free. I want to see a mandatory buyback of assault weapons and a Universal Basic Income for all Americans. Despite the apparent difference in policy positions, Kamala Harris was my top choice for Vice President since before she announced (and ended) her campaign. I am elated that she could be the next occupant of the office.
Kamala Harris commands a room. She exudes confidence, is consistently bold, and doesn’t take no for an answer. She is precisely the kind of woman that deserves a place in history. In 2016, little girls around the country started to believe they could do anything. Hillary Clinton was far from a perfect candidate. Still, she took a giant leap towards breaking those barriers when she won 3 million more votes than her opponent in a general election. Then came a man who is full of racism, sexism, and classism. A man who says there are “good people on both sides,” sends “thoughts and prayers” instead of taking action, and who tear gasses peaceful protesters fighting racial injustices. The 2020 Democratic Primary looked like America. Yet, as a party, we ended up nominating a 77-year-old, white, male, career politician who is still making some questionable statements about race in interviews. While announcing his running mate would be a woman was a positive move, today’s racial reckoning showed us that a white woman wasn’t going to cut it (even if that white woman was progressive queen Elizabeth Warren).
A proud HBCU graduate, the daughter of immigrant parents, raised by a single mother, the first Black woman and the first South Asian woman to be on a major-party ticket, Harris represents who and what this country is, and who and what each one of us has the potential to become. She showed us her chops during the Kavanaugh and Barr confirmation hearings and continually held her ground during the Presidential debates. Her campaign didn’t get traction, but maybe that’s because it seems that I wasn’t the only one that wanted her in our #2 position.
She isn’t as progressive as I yearned our ticket would be. Initially, I hoped that she would be the more moderate VP to a progressive President. When that ship set sail, I never faltered on my hopes of the name Harris on the ticket.
Harris is a fighter. In her first year as California’s Attorney General, she spearheaded a fight against big banks during the foreclosure crisis and won a battle many thought was impossible. An early and frequent supporter of marriage equality, she officiated the first same-sex wedding in San Francisco. As Senator, she is currently fighting for a bill that would provide $2,000 a month to each American until three months beyond the end of the COVID-19 crisis. She is frequently rated as having one of the top progressive voting records in the Senate. She isn’t perfect, and there are things in her past and on her record that she should be challenged on. However, to say that she is entirely a right to moderate democrat is also untrue.
The Vice President may be more important than ever this cycle. If (hopefully when) inaugurated, Joe Biden will be the oldest person ever to hold the office, sworn in at 78 years old — just a few months older than Regan was when he left office. Many of us were looking for a younger Vice President that simultaneously has the experience to be President on day one without being a Washington incumbent. At 55 and a first-term Senator, Harris fits that bill. Will I vote for her if she were to run in 2024? I’m not sure. Have I already bought my Biden/Harris 2020 merchandise? You bet.
Kamala Harris now joins a list of game-changing women that includes Victoria Woodhull, Shirley Chisholm, Geraldine Ferraro, and Hillary Clinton. We haven’t broken that glass ceiling yet. But we keep tapping, keep pushing, keep slicing, and we are as close to busting through as we ever have been. Kamala Harris is poised to be the one to break through the first layer, trailblazing the way for our first female President and making the office of the Vice President proud.
I’m already marking the date for the Vice Presidential debate, and I hope you do too. (It’s October 7th.)