I’ll forgive you because there has been quite a lot going on over the last few days. However, it is not possible to overstate how important it is we take a moment to address the history being made right now. Kamala Harris is set to become the first woman to serve as Vice President in our nation’s history.
In 2016, when Hillary Clinton shockingly lost the presidential race, women across the country felt like they were robbed of a glass ceiling-shattering moment in history. Clinton even planned her victory party in a glass-roofed building to symbolize the moment.
When the 2020 presidential campaign kicked off, it was a foregone conclusion that a woman would be on the ticket. We had several extremely qualified candidates during the primaries, including Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand. That doesn’t include other legitimate candidates like Susan Rice, Val Demings, and Tammy Duckworth.
But it was Harris who stood out among the crowded field. Many considered her firey takedown of Biden about bussing in the first big debate to be a disqualifier; that he wouldn’t choose her for attacking him. I thought the opposite; choosing Harris, after that, was not only strategic; it was presidential.
Biden didn’t want a bobblehead for a Vice President, agreeing with everything he said and did. He wanted a fighter who held strong to her convictions and wouldn’t hesitate to disagree with him if necessary. He wanted someone who was a leader in their own right.
Biden represents a fading era of politics, and he needed someone who could help him usher in the next era of leadership. At 56, Harris is 22 years Biden’s junior, and paired with her life experiences, brings a whole new perspective to the White House. Younger leadership is needed now; Biden knows this. He is a bridge, shepherding in the next generation.
Donald Trump and the election have dominated the news cycles since November 3rd, and there is doubt this contest won’t end anytime soon. Legal battles are expected to rage until the President’s legion of lawyers gives up or gets fired. His real-time tantrums are overshadowing what should be considered a historic moment for everyone, especially women across the world.
Kamala Harris doesn’t come without her controversies, though. Her record as a prosecutor in California is often scrutinized by criminal justice reformers and the right-wing media. She is from what conservatives consider to be the ‘coastal elite’ and is therefore disconnected from what it is like to be an American in middle America.
She is also fairly centric politically compared to the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party. There will be a reckoning there as Biden and Harris are viewed as a moderate ticket. The Democrats united for the election, which was wonderful to see. But many questions need to be answered internally by the party once the election is finalized—both their vision and their leadership.
Despite her obvious political flaws, no one can deny the importance of the moment. A Black and Indian woman who grew up in Oakland, became a lawyer, a prosecutor, a Senator, a presidential candidate, and now Vice-President-elect. Her journey, both personal and professional, prepared her for this moment.
On January 20th, 2021, Kamala Harris will shatter a glass ceiling that has plagued women for generations. She will be a strong VP, ready to lead at a moment's notice. There is no doubt that she will also be in a position to make that final step into the Oval Office in 2024 if she wants it.
Despite all the noise, the tweets, the baseless allegations, and the protests, everyone should stop and appreciate this moment. Kamala Harris will be the next Vice President of the United States.