After months of speculation, hand-wringing and no small amount of annoyance, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has finally chosen a running mate for the 2020 presidential election in Sen. Kamala Harris of California.
It’s an historic choice, as Harris is the first Black woman as well as the first South Asian woman selected as a running mate from either major party (she’s only the third woman ever). Since Old Man Joe seems content in dropping one gaffe after the other when someone can actually find him these days, many believed he needed a woman on the ticket to balance him out; calls that it would be a Black woman became so loud that he basically had no choice – Harris was on the short list with former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams.
Harris was divisive among Black folks even when she was competing against Biden for the nomination. My own Facebook feed is sharply divided among people who feel that, as a prosecutor, Harris perpetuated much of the institutional issues that the Black Lives Matter movement is actively fighting against. Those who believe her political savvy will serve as a salve to blunt-force Biden and a gaggle of AKAs who are bombarding social media with pink and green hearts out of support for their beloved soror.
But this message is not for them. I want to take a moment to address the fellas, those 13 percent of Black men who voted for Trump in 2016. The brothers who stand by these loud GOP show ponies like “comedian” Terrence K. Williams, the Hodge twins and Kanye West, whose own presidential “campaign” is basically designed to assist Trump. The Black men who feel as if these people offer valid paths to having our issues be seen, heard and addressed.
For reasons that escape me, it seems that there are some Black men who are more likely to vote for Trump or not at all. Hell, a random Black dude tweeting “I like what Howie Hawkins is talking about” is the only reason I even know the name of this year’s Green Party candidate.
Everyone needs to understand one thing: There’s no bitching or moaning about Harris as the potential vice president. You have no other choice: cowboy the f--- up, get over whatever problems you have and throw your support behind this Biden/Harris ticket. I get it, she may not be your first pick for vice president, and Lord knows Biden may be a hard swallow for many people as president. But here are just five reasons why Black men in particular cannot stay home this November (unless you plan to take advantage of mail-in ballot options) and engage your civic duty to help prevent another round of the sadistic dog-and-pony show residing at1600 Pennsylvania Ave.:
If you are willing to believe that people (including politicians) can change, expect Harris to have more of a vested interest in the domestic plight of Black men, definitely more than you’d ever see in the Trump administration. For starters, she’s attempted to pass a federal anti-lynching bill in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police officer Derek Chauvin. Considering the fact that people of color die at the hands of the police disproportionately more than their white counterparts, it’s very possible that this Democratic ticket will be better for us than any before it.
Earlier this summer, Trump fixed his face to tell anyone who would listen that he’s done more for Black folks than any previous president. This may make sense to clowns like Trump stalwarts Diamond and Silk, but it’s an asinine proposition for anyone who has a sixth-grade diploma obtained from socially-distanced Zoom classes. Everything from defending the Tiki-torch mobsters to insulting Black woman reporters to his reprehensible handling of a pandemic that is killing black folks disproportionately suggests that Trump hasn’t lost a wink of sleep in concern about Black folks. Speaking of which…
What Black man can disprove the fact that the Trump administration has mishandled the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? You only have to look at the number of Black people who have been disproportionality impacted by the coronavirus to understand. I would not expect a vaccine before the end of the year, which means we’ll still very much be dealing with all things related to the coronavirus during the next presidential term. Your three-year-old niece could handle a response better than Trump and Pence have demonstrated. As a senator, Harris has worked on behalf of working families fighting for direct, monthly cash assistance and consumer protection; support for workers and small businesses; expanded access to emergency assistance through FEMA amongst other things. So, I really don’t want to hear s--t suggesting that you won’t vote because of Harris.
We know that younger Black men (age 1-19) die from homicide more than any other means. You want to keep going to home-going services for your homies, then stay at home on Election day, but if you want to give our people a fighting chance, then consider what Harris has to offer. When she was running for President, Harris said she wants to implement gun control measures that would force folks to go through background checks before being able to buy a gun and stricter regulations for those making the guns.
“There are people in Washington, D.C., supposed leaders,” Harris told CNN, “who have failed to have the courage to reject a false choice which suggests you’re either in favor of the second amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away.”
“We need reasonable gun safety laws in this country, starting with universal background checks and a renewal of the assault weapon ban, but they have failed to have the courage to act.”
For those of you who are in states where your private or public puff puff pass activities are still considered illegal, understand this: Harris has evolved on her marihuana policy over the years. She started out opposing a measure legalizing cannabis in California back in 2010, but has since changed her mind with the times and sponsored legislation to federally deschedule marijuana as a Senator in 2019. She could be the one to sway Uncle Joe in the same direction and possibly convince him to take a more progressive, bolder step by going beyond just decriminalizing marijuana possession and expunging past convictions, which we all know heavily impacts Black men in ways we don’t even have to get into. In the words of Big Freedia, "you already know."