Harris pick is a win for America
The issue: Biden taps Kamala Harris for VP Our view: Selection advances American promise
For all of the profound promises implicit in our country’s founding documents, the journey for all Americans to participate fully in them has been long, arduous and often deadly.
And it is not over. There remain many who seek either explicitly or through more opaque legal and political strategies to thwart the advance of civil rights and justice for all. Not just a matter of dark hearts and minds, the immense power at stake animates.
It was fitting that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his newly chosen running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, appeared for the first time together Wednesday on the anniversary of and in repudiation of white supremacist violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, three years ago.
Harris, born in California, daughter of an Indian scientist and Jamaican professor, is the first woman of color and only the third woman in the history of the country to be chosen by a major party to run for the vice presidency, a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Considering Harris’ readiness — California’s former top prosecutor and now a sitting U.S. senator — and indeed that of so many other women Biden vetted, it should not come as a surprise. As Erie County Assistant District Attorney Khadija Horton told reporter Matthew Rink, Harris “deserved this.”
That reality only serves to underscore the damage the historic barriers to women, people of color, and others long oppressed have caused — not just to them, but the nation as a whole in the human capital squandered. Each advance of inclusion only makes us richer and stronger.
Biden on Wednesday rightly said America could be summed up in a word: “possibilities.” With Harris’ pick, that is what Erie political organizer Martha “Marty” Nwachukwu sees, young girls of color liberated to imagine new horizons for their lives and potential.
It is an affirmation, as Horton said, that “we really matter,” which is not a nicety in a country working to overcome an enduring legacy of enslavement, racial terror and systemic discrimination.
The attacks, of course, began immediately. In Erie, Vice President Mike Pence’s nephew during a Wednesday campaign stop decried Harris — a career prosecutor — as a leftist radical. Absurd on its face, the charge also reprises a regrettable style of disingenuous, inflammatory politics that undermines the gravity and substance of voters’ deliberations.
It also sullied this historic moment, which should be celebrated by every American, regardless of party or ideology.
Harris’ pick represents payment on a sorely overdue debt to Americans who, for generations remained barred —by law, violence and prejudice — from participating fully in American greatness, even as they worked so hard to establish, defend and perfect it.