Why Black Progressive Women Feel Torn About Kamala Harris

By Derecka Purnell
The Guardian (8/12/20)

Joe Biden has announced that Senator Kamala Harris will join his political pursuit of the White House.

Women of color, particularly progressives, might feel torn. Perhaps they will be excited. Harris is sharp, strategic and witty, undoubtedly qualified to be vice-president of the United States. She graduated from a historically Black college and belongs to a prestigious Black sorority. A biracial woman with Jamaican and Indian heritage, we have seen her break color barriers and shatter glass ceilings, even though poor, Black women have felt and swept the falling shards.

Thousands celebrated her senate seat win and even more were captivated when she picked apart presidential candidates at debates – especially Biden. Her one-liners were unforgettable. Until we remembered that she honed those argumentative skills in court as a prosecutor, including during fights to uphold wrongful convictions.

Then, there’s the fatigue. Progressives will have to defend the California senator’s personal identity, while maneuvering against her political identity. Political accession and racism go together like stars and stripes. Michelle Obama was horribly depicted as an ape. Donald Trump called Congresswoman Maxine Waters a “low IQ individual.” Just weeks ago, a congressman called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “disgusting” and a “fucking bitch.” Squad members and fellow representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib regularly experience xenophobic, Islamophobic, and racist attacks, which intensified after their statements regarding social justice. Like the rest of these women, Harris deserves safety and protection from harm. Black women, especially her sorors, will likely be her first line of defense.

Yet the defense against racist, sexist attacks must not interfere with the necessary offense required to push the Biden-Harris political ticket, for people who choose to play the electoral politics game. When activists criticized Barack Obama, we were scathingly reminded how hard it was for him to be a Black man in the White House. He had significant executive power and influence to shift resources, call for legislation, and even free people from prison (which his own administration seemingly neglected). We were told to wait. Then, after eight years, we were told that too much was at stake to organize for free college, universal healthcare, the end to police and prison violence, and a clean planet. Nina Simone’s song, Mississippi Goddam, calls this “Do It Slow:”

But that’s just the trouble, “Do it slow”

Desegregation, “Do it slow”

Mass participation, “Do it slow”

Reunification, ‘“Do it slow”

Do things gradually, “Do it slow”

But bring more tragedy, “Do it slow”

Fifty-six years since the song’s release, the time seems never to be right to push politicians towards progress. No more. …

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Nina Simone’s ‘Mississippi Goddam’

This song came in the midst of the civil rights struggle and challenged the tepid, ‘go’slow’ liberal mindset that bedeviled social, economic and political process both then and now. When it comes to social justice at a time of crisis, precious little has changed.

The song was banned in five southern states at the time, so you know it’s great.

Link to 4-Minute Video


In This Degraded, Dystopian World, Kamala Harris Sails Above The Presidential Bar

By Richard Wollfe
The Guardian (8/11/20)

What is Mike Pence? When the painted smile fades and the glazed eyes begin to focus on reality, is there an honest penny in him? For the next three months, the core question of whether Pence has any core is the only real target for America’s history-making vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris. As much as the Trump campaign wants to scare the bejesus out of its old, white base with terrifying tales about Krazy Kamala, her own policy positions don’t really matter. Like every other veep candidate, Harris doesn’t deliver a voter bloc or state. She doesn’t displace the top of the ticket because veeps never do. All that matters is one debate night, in Salt Lake City, in early October. And even that night will be quickly overshadowed by the second presidential debate a week later.

How can the summer’s biggest political story – except for the pandemic, recession and racial justice protests – be so easily dismissed? To understand that dynamic, you need look no further than Joe Biden and Pence. …

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Avengers, Assemble

By Abby Zimet
Common Dreams (8/11/20)

Okay, maybe Kamala Harris wasn’t your first choice, nor was she ours. But the daughter of an Indian scientist and Jamaican economist who’s married to a Jewish lawyer is a smart, tough, competent, empathetic, ready-to-go, all-American scrapper who brings what Charlie Pierce calls “hot molten steel” to the Biden campaign. She also brings some complex baggage as a former attorney general who’s alternately described herself as a “top cop” and “progressive prosecutor,” leading some progressives to wonder how many potential oxymorons you can fit into one C.V. Still, facing an election viewed by many as a possibly last-ditch battle between good and evil, she promises to be a fierce challenge to the scared little man in the White House feebly mewling she’s “very, very nasty.” As some have noted, he ain’t seen nothin’ yet. …

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A Much-Needed Note Of Reality From George Carlin…

It’s A BIG Club & You Ain’t In It!

Link To 4-Minute Video