The selection of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate on the Democratic ticket is unprecedented and wise.
It is unprecedented because the strongest, most-consistent voting bloc of the Democratic Party – Black women – have finally earned the right of representation on the party ticket. This is novel not because of a lack of qualified Black woman candidates but rather because of a lack of political courage by Democrats to risk white fragility to embody the racial and gender inclusion the party espouses.
It is unprecedented because, although many women have run as candidates of independent parties, the Democratic Party has not displayed the courage to include a woman as a vice president on the party ticket since 1984 with Geraldine Ferraro. It is unprecedented because Senator Kamala is both African-American and Asian, embodying an American face and history of multi-racial resilience and strength muted too long in the collective narrative of our nation.
It is also wise because Senator Harris’ congregational record is one that demonstrates a clear understanding of the challenges we currently face as a nation, and she is not afraid to address the needs of all of the people.
There are definitely valid grievances raised concerning her record as a prosecutor that warrant an acknowledgement and not an excuse. And yet, her voice on the Senate Judiciary Committee proved her willingness and ability to interrupt the status quo in the interest of racial, gender, and economic equity. The senator is strong in areas that complement the presidential candidate.
I believe Senator Harris is capable of seeing all of America, and that is needed after years of an administration whose highest priorities have been to quell the tide of unity without uniformity, to secure the absurd wealth of the few on the backs of the many working poor, and to maintain a false narrative of white supremacy that damages us all.
In this era of viral pandemics, rising rates of poverty, and virulent racism, there is no greater threat to democracy than the continued inept leadership of our current administration. There are some who will be angered by some of the wrongs of both Biden and Harris, and it is right to hold this tension. But there is absolutely no comparison between a Biden/Harris administration and the rampant demagoguery we are currently experiencing under Trump/Pence.
It will continue to be our task to hold the feet of all elected officials to the fire. A Biden/Harris administration will be no different in that regard. But the current assault on the very fiber of democracy and political fortification of white supremacist ideology must cease at the ballot box on November 3.
Now is the time to regain control of our political process and continue our journey toward becoming the country of liberty and justice for all.
Rev. Traci D. Blackmon is associate general minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries for The United Church of Christ.