Sen. Kamala Harris — History-making Vice Presidential Candidate
Ambassador Curtis A. Ward
(17 August 2020) — In this Commentary, I share my perspectives on the historic selection of Sen. Kamala Harris by the Democratic Party presidential candidate Vice President Joe Biden as his running mate. I also offer some insights on what lies ahead for the Biden-Harris administration in the post-Trump America and for the global community. Video and Text below.
Sen. Kamala Harris – History-making Vice Presidential Candidate
Ambassador Curtis A. Ward
Thank you for giving me a few minutes of your time as I share my perspectives on one of the seminal events in the history of American politics.
Jamaican and Caribbean immigrants across the United States exploded in excitement at the announcement by the presumptive Democratic Party presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, that he had chosen Senator Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrant parents, to be his running mate.
Television screens showed what those who have followed her career already knew, her father was from Jamaica and her mother from India.
The excitement was by no means restricted to the Jamaican and Caribbean immigrants, or to Indian and Asian-American immigrants. Millions of women and men of all races across the United States, in particular Black women and other women of color, as well as men and women across the world, celebrated this history-making event as it unfolded in real time with a Black woman in the center of it.
Television screens lit up with videos and photos of Sen. Kamala Harris; television anchors and pundits were unable to hide their excitement. A Black woman for the first time in American history was to be nominated at the Democratic Party presidential convention to represent a major political party for the very first time in US history as a candidate for the second highest office in America.
Sen. Harris, if elected on the November 3rd, will be the first woman Vice President of the United States. She will be a heartbeat away from the presidency; and well-positioned to become the first woman president of the United States. Let me not get too far into the future. But, my own exuberance and expectations for the future is unabashedly and undeniable optimistic.
I recall the overwhelming outpouring of joyful emotions when Senator Barack Obama was elected November 2008 as the first Black president of the United States. And so I ask, will we witness a similar experience on 3rd November 2020? Tears flowed from the eyes of peoples of every color as hundreds of millions of people around the world celebrated a new dawn in the most powerful nation on earth, and I dare say, the history of mankind. Hope and expectations for a better world ascended to new heights.
As for me, sitting in a hotel room in Abuja, Nigeria, when Obama’s victory was declared, I wrote in my blog, Caribbean Diaspora Connect, an article entitled, “The World Stood Still.” I reflected on what had occurred and what it could mean for the future. In reality, although full of confidence in president Obama and vice president Joe Biden to deliver on their promises for America and the world, I wrote that many of the expectations could not be met. I wrote then that president Obama would need a friendly Congress to support his initiatives. President Biden and vice president Harris will also need a Congress which put the interests of the American people ahead of narrow political interests.
Lest we forget, although we have lots of questions in recent years about its strength, America is a democracy, not an autocracy or dictatorship. A hostile Congress for six of Obama’s eight years as president did whatever it could to stymie his policies and programs. However, in spite of the race haters and obstructionists, particularly Republican legislators and right-wing extremists, by the end of his second term, president Obama left America and the world far better off than when he came into office.
In addition, although having to battle a rabid, and to a large extent racist, opposition at home, and the constant and dangerous threats from rogue states and international and domestic terrorist groups , with vice president Biden at his side, president Obama restored America’s global leadership. President Obama, leading with moral authority and conviction, created global stability and an environment for human security to thrive.
At home, president Obama changed the dynamics for the marginalized and under-served; he transformed the role of the US government from neglecting to caring for the well-being of tens of millions of Americans. President Obama offered hope and he delivered; he paved the way to a much better future for all.
But, nothing is permanent. It took less than 3½ years of president Donald Trump’s chaotic policies and lack of moral leadership to reverse human progress at home and abroad. A Biden-Harris administration will have the daunting task of rebuilding the foundations of American democracy, helping Americans in putting their lives back together economically and socially, and ensuring the future of the next generation. The Biden-Harris team will face a world in shambles that will require global moral leadership to resuscitate international norms and institutions. I’m confident that a future Biden-Harris team, surrounded by the requisite experience, expertise, and perspectives, will replace the amateurish ineptness of the past 3½+ years with the competency and empathy required to get the job done.
Trump’s amateurish and uncaring mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic, while seeking always to blame others for his tragic failures, has resulted in more than 170,000 American deaths and a wrecked American and global economy. Trump’s chaotic handling of the pandemic made America the global leader in coronavirus cases – in excess of five million, at the time of this commentary. The US economy is devastated, with millions of Americans losing their jobs, hundreds of thousands of businesses suffering significant economic losses, and tens of thousands of businesses permanently shuttered.
The global community is on the verge of exploding into conflicts and instability of epic proportions; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction threatens world peace; and the global threat of terrorism is on the rise in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Trump’s chaotic and incoherent and bellicose geopolitical policies have moved the situation in Venezuela to the brink of military conflict. His deliberate reversal of Obama’s Cuban policy has returned that peaceful nation in the Caribbean to that of an imaginary enemy of the United States. Reversal of Obama’s Iran policy has turned the Middle East into a cauldron of conflicts and potential conflicts. The lives of the people of West and East Africa are under increasing threats from widespread terrorism, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, and persistent poverty and underdevelopment.
This is the America and the global community president Biden and vice president Harris will inherit when they take office on January 20, 2021. The task ahead for the Biden-Harris team will be even more daunting than that which president Obama faced when he took office on January 20, 2009.
Having keenly observed Senator Harris’s career for the past 4½+ years, I am convinced of her exceptional leadership qualities. She is, beyond doubt, well-qualified to assume the office of vice president and to be a significant partner to president Biden. She is resilient; she is intelligent; she is bold; she is a leader; she’s a woman of empathy and a woman of integrity; and she is tough. Her gender is an asset, not a handicap. Her roots in the immigrant community are assets, as is her heritage.
Now, it’s up to us who want positive changes at home and abroad to make this a reality.
Thank you for watching.
I am Curtis Ward, Publisher & Editor of The Ward Post, and Host of CaribNation TV.
© 2020 Curtis A. Ward/The Ward Post