Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden finally named a running mate in Kamala Harris. Here’s why that choice doesn’t put any of my concerns about him to bed.
I can follow Team Biden’s logic here. Joe’s old, so he needs someone younger. Joe’s white, so let’s get a person of color on the ticket. Joe’s a man, so let’s pick a woman. Every Presidential candidate needs a running mate that complements them. Barack Obama chose Biden for many of the same reasons that Biden chose Kamala Harris. I get it, I really do. I’ve been in Democratic Party grassroots spaces before. There’s no demographic that’s more represented in the party than Black women, both in activism and at the ballot box. As a result, a Black woman as the party’s Vice Presidential candidate is long overdue. However, we shouldn’t view people in positions of power solely through a lens of identity; we should also take into account their ideology as well. There were undoubtedly worse options, in my opinion, such as Val Demings, Stacy Abrams, and Susan Rice, but the presence of worse alternatives does not automatically make something ‘good.’ With this said, I’m terrified of what a Biden-Harris administration could bring.
In times of national uprisings over police brutality and our criminal injustice system, the Democratic Party has come across as incredibly tone-deaf. They’ve selected the chief architect of American mass incarceration and the former “top-cop” (in her own words) of California. Big yikes. I believe it would have been a much better choice for Biden to choose Rep. Barbara Lee as his running mate. She’s an experienced legislator with an unapologetically progressive track record and she’s also a Black woman. She compliments Biden in both identity and ideology. Biden is currently lagging in support among the younger, more progressive wing of the Democratic Party, so him choosing someone such as Lee as a running mate could have helped him gain more voters in that demographic. Many people believe that Senator Harris accomplishes this task, but I can assure you that she does not.
Anyone excited about Kamala Harris becoming Vice President was most likely already going to vote for Joe Biden anyway, as the polling data shows us. Take it from an undecided voter, Kamala ain’t helping Joe earn my vote. I cannot speak for every undecided voter; however, for me, Kamala isn’t different enough from Joe Biden when it comes to policy for her race and gender to matter to me.
I’ve written extensively about Joe Biden in recent months. From his ‘ain’t Black’ statement to questioning his electability. I’ve also written about Kamala Harris’s failed Presidential campaign, and how it ended up that way. In short, Kamala Harris was unable to reckon with her Prosecutorial record, and she failed to settle on a general direction and ethos for her campaign. Failing in these two areas ultimately led to her electoral demise before any votes were even cast. While it is true that Kamala Harris had to face anti-Blackness, racism, sexism, and their intersections, it is also true that she could not overcome her own failings either. I’m not worried about their possible Administration because Kamala has weaknesses, I’m concerned about their prospective Administration because Kamala and Joe’s weaknesses are both in criminal justice, and that’s one of the areas that the times require we become the strongest in as a nation.
From George Floyd’s public lynching to the somehow legal home invasion by cops that led to Breonna Taylor’s tragic murder, enough is enough. Calls to defund the police and completely reimagine law enforcement in this country have finally fallen on listening ears. How am I to trust the author of the Crime Bill and a former “top cop” to heed activist demands to divest from state-sanctioned violence and invest in education and healthcare when those two built careers on doing the exact opposite? We can’t afford to waste another generations’ future on war and incarceration. We can’t afford to take money that needs to go into healthcare and spend it on drone strikes amid a global pandemic. Many people say that Kamala has turned over a new leaf & seen the error in her ways due to her presence at protests and impassioned speeches lately. However, I’ve been left with no choice but to believe that this is all a farce.
When the rubber hit the road, and sh*t got real, how did Kamala use her position of power? Most recently, she used her vote in the Senate to vote against an amendment that would have cut the Pentagon budget by a measly ten percent & reallocated those funds into education, healthcare, and other forms of COVID-19 relief. Keep in mind that she said no to freeing up nearly $75 billion as our government claims that it doesn’t have enough money to give people $600 a week or grant essential workers the PPE & paid time off that they rightfully deserve. Kamala’s Black womanhood is fantastic. So too is her membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha(AKA) Sorority, Incorporated. However, what’s more important than her identity is substantive policy changes that Black Lives literally rely on.
Many people are saying that they plan on holding a Biden-Harris Administration accountable after they get elected. I’m not against this by any means; however, I do want to spend time discussing that. Do you remember the Occupy Wall Street movement, and how the Obama Administration reacted to that? Do you recall that the #BlackLivesMatter movement began under the Obama-Biden Administration? Have you seen the Breakfast Club clip where Kamala Harris claims that the controversy that Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling started was all apart of a Russian conspiracy to sew discord? I’ve said this all to say that I’ll join all of you who are willing to fight with this prospective Administration tooth and nail in the name of Black and working-class Liberation. However, I caution everyone downplaying the legitimate risks in electing Biden and Harris.
Regardless of who you plan to vote for, it would be best if you prepared to keep this same activist energy after Donald Trump is removed from the Oval Office, and not simply ‘go back to brunch.’ I know that Kamala is a beautiful Black woman, and it excites you that we can FINALLY have a woman of color as Veep. I know that Trump is the literal worst, and you just gotta get rid of him. However, we cannot allow these things to distract us from the fact that Biden and Harris have caused a lot of harm to marginalized people with their positions of power. We must also soberly acknowledge that it will take a lot of grassroots organizing and activism to ensure that many of the same evils of Trumpism that we currently refuse to accept do not continue in a Biden-Harris governed America either.