Thursday, August 13, 2020

Kamala! Kamala! Kamala!

I first wrote about Kamala Harris back in 2019 when she announced her candidacy for President. I was all in then, so there is NO QUESTION that I am all in now. As a matter of fact, I can barely contain my excitement. I know that this isn't the same as being the nominee at the top of the ticket, but this is pretty damn close. Like super, paper thin close enough. And it's a big effing deal.

I was on a Zoom call when the news was announced. The two other participants had a subdued, almost resigned reaction, and it took a minute for me to fully register what I had been expecting would be the choice all along. It wasn't a surprise, and now I'm convinced that I would have been more shocked if she had not been named. Still, as it sinks in, I am ecstatic!

I am also...hopeful. For the first time since that November morning in 2016 when I woke up full of excitement, put on a pantsuit, dressed my baby girl in a matching outfit, and we ventured out to take my parents to vote. And honestly, that isn't the most accurate word to describe what I felt that day. I was overly confident, smug even, that my daughter would have her formative years shaped by two historic Presidents. I even captured the significance of what I thought would be a glass-shattering day in this video.

So I shouldn't be this giddy. I should be more cautious, but I can't help it. This announcement feels like that other glee-filled day in 2008 when the junior Senator from Illinois shocked the world and won the Iowa Caucus. Before that upset, I had been the lone true believer in my orbit. My Dad had been ridin' with Biden and my Mom was Team Hillary. The Hub was doubtful, but I was all in and after Iowa, it was full steam ahead for me. So with this announcement, I feel a renewed sense of hope that morning is about to break in America.

To be honest, this feeling began the other day as I was watching the last episode of the Henry Louis Gates PBS documentary African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. As I am still working on a tribute to John Lewis and working on several other projects, it was good motivation until it hit a spate of historical events from the recent past that tanked my mood. Between the Los Angeles Riots and the images from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, I got depressed reflecting on how this pandemic was just another reminder that Black people are always catching hell.

Then Obama's smiling face appeared on-screen and brought with it the reminder of all the hope we felt back when he was a candidate for President. Suddenly, my spirit lifted and I felt a sense of reassurance that there is light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. I might be reading too much into this announcement, but let's just say that my enthusiasm for old Uncle Joe just shot through the stratosphere.

We were in Chicago the day that Joe Biden was named as Barack Obama's running mate, and I recall being relieved that he had made a solid choice. It wasn't a game-changer because we all knew Biden was a safe bet. He would do no harm, and he would sure up the doubters that Obama would have the advise and counsel of an elder statesman to keep things on course. Inasmuch as Harris offers the inverse--the advise and counsel of a young turk to keep the elder statesman relevant and in touch, she too, is a safe bet, progressive enough but sufficiently moderate to do no harm.

I know that isn't the revolution that some of us wanted, but the battle before us is about survival. We are facing the iceberg, and come November, we will either crash into it or we will just miss it. There are not enough life boats for everyone, and the rich will not make room for the rest of us and will gladly watch us all freeze to death or drown. Faced with a deadly pandemic, domestic racial unrest, economic uncertainty, hostility from enemy regimes, disgruntled international allies, and the prospect of four more years of this bullshit...I'm voting not to hit the iceberg. The revolution can start once we're in calmer waters.

A year ago, I was hoping for a different ticket. It was just about this point when Harris' star had begun to fade after a particularly nasty broadside delivered to her by Tulsi Gabbard. I was all ready to mount up, but I maintained some hope that if Harris' flag fell, there were other women waiting to charge ahead. I began to have dreams of a Warren-Harris ticket and imagined how fiercely we would respond if need be.


We shan't mourn over what should have been. Instead, we will survey the landscape, regroup, and fight like hell to win the next battle. And the next battle is about making sure there is something to fight for a year from now. 

I've already said my peace about the 'issues' some of y'all have expressed about her, from her racial heritage to her chosen career path to her white husband. NONE OF THAT will impact my vote. Her Daddy came from the same diaspora that gave us Bob Marley and Colin Powell, so she's Black. She chose the career path that was most likely to position her for this moment. Her husband put a ring on it and stands at the ready to take anybody out who comes for his wife. So what else you got?

You want to debate ideological purity when the other side has mortgaged their houses, yachts, family farms, firstborn grandchildren, and their very souls to support a twice divorced philanderer, grifter, racist, and wannabe dictator all to control the next Supreme Court pick? They are willing to expose your children to a deadly virus that will kill your parents while this President, Scott Baio, and the My Pillow Guy play golf at his country club. They've got the lifeboats.

You want to debate the outcomes of policy decisions that were made before you were born? If you were alive in the 1980s, then perhaps you forgot what it was like to live through crime waves. Maybe you need to talk to your parents about why your family really moved to the suburbs. Hindsight in the year 2020 needs to be more than just an indictment of how politicians responded to social ills without an examination how those of us in the Black middle class responded...

We don't have the time for that kind of navel-gazing. We have only 80 days to get your play cousins registered to vote and to figure out how to get our parents absentee and mail-in ballots. A lot can happen in that time as we've learned from this pandemic, but we don't need to waste any of it fighting with ashy fools when the real fight is against the racist/sexist fools. Let's get out there to do the work that will steer this ship away from that iceberg.

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