Adding my congratulations
Like everyone I know and care for, there was that magic moment on Saturday November 7th when the news finally broke that Joe Biden had won the US Presidential election. I whooped and danced, messaged everyone, shared the ludicrous images of Trump refusing to admit defeat, got out some old CDs and played them with the volume turned up: Bruce Springsteen (who else?), Leonard Cohen (Democracy in the USA), and the first album by a West coast band called Spirit. If it hadn’t been for lockdown I would have organised a street party.
I rang one of my American cousins in D.C., and we shared laughter and joy that four years of lies, corruption, meanness and cruelty would now come to an end. I cried listening as CNN reporter Van Jones was brought to tears as he spoke of how this news would make it easier to be a parent and he would tell his kids that character and honesty matters. He said that it would now be easier for many people – Muslims, immigrants, dreamers – and that this was vindication for many people who have really suffered. He spoke eloquently of people who had felt that they could not breathe but would now be able to get some peace. I had the feeling that for him it was as if four years of living in a pressure cooker was coming to an end, and that decency would prevail.
Then I turned my attention to the Vice-President elect: Kamala Harris, born in California of an Indian mother and Jamaican father. She was the first female district attorney of San Francisco, the first female attorney general of California, the first Indian American in the US Senate and the first Indian American candidate of a major party to run for vice-president. Soon she will become the first female vice-president. Extraordinary.
She became an activist in her teens, living with her mother in Canada after her parents separated. At 13 she mobilised neighbourhood children to protest against rules that stopped them playing on the lawn in front of their apartment building. She returned to the US to study law at university, and her career took off from then.
She has apparently stated that she would ensure that a Biden administration Department of Justice would pursue criminal obstruction of justice charges against Trump for his apparent collusion with Russia as outlined in the Mueller report. I assume it won’t be personal, but in my view she could be excused if it was. Trump has variously called her ‘a monster’, ‘horrible’, ‘extraordinarily nasty’ and accused her of not having been born in the US and therefore ineligible to run for Vice-President. Just one more of his lies.
When Harris decided to run for Vice-President, the old sexist tropes started. She was ‘too ambitious’, according to some of Biden’s allies. She was also accused of being unlikeable and disloyal to him. I think we would all agree that she has been a great support during his campaign and will work with him assiduously.
This quote from Harris is a gem and tells us that her critics might as well shut up and go home:
‘I have in my career been told many times, ‘It’s not your time. It’s not your turn.” And let me just tell you, I eat “no” for breakfast, so I would recommend the same. It’s a hearty breakfast’.