Opinion: Kamala Harris Is A Profile in Courage and Breaking Barriers

Kamala Harris broke barriers at every stage of her career. Now she’s going for the one between women and the White House. Everything about Kamala Harris is so much more than merely not being Trump.

Though I will concede she is as much the opposite of Trump as one would want to be.

I’m not just talking about the fact that she is a woman of color.  I’m talking about her intellect, integrity, strength and courage and her willingness to fight for something she believes in.

Harris believes in America.  The America we knew for 200 plus years before Trump and his wrecking ball showed up.  She believes in democracy, civil rights, the rule of law, and the desire to make this a more perfect Union where the value and dignity of all Americans is cherished and respected.

She also believes in the America where healthcare is a right and where working hard is rewarded.

Kamala Harris spent her life fighting for that America, while Mr. Trump was tending to his bone spurs, bankruptcies, and divorces.

When she announced her candidacy, Harris talked about the soul of America as the reason she decided to run. She understands the irony in privileged white men whining about others using identity politics the very way they have throughout American history. There is, however, an important difference.  Unlike Trump and other privileged white men of his ilk, Harris doesn’t advocate using identity to keep anyone down.

In 2020, our national identity is not the only thing at stake.  Trump and his allies spent the last two plus years zeroing out the influence and rights of people who aren’t privileged white males.

This includes a largely misogynistic media, content to play the same game it did in 2016.  Simply put, if you’re a woman running for president, odds are the media will care greatly about your hair, your clothes, whether you smile enough and whether you are “nasty”, (misogyny speak for assertive and tough.)  They’ll continue to insist you don’t have any ideas, no matter how many specific and detailed policies you put out there.

It worked in 2016.  We can’t afford to let it work again in 2020.  Not if we value the America that was great before Trump tried to turn it into a Putin satellite.

Trump and his allies are going for it all. They’re attacking the very framework of American greatness – as written in the Constitution.  In that America, most settled law will be overturned.  We’re seeing it happen with the current attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade and designate women’s wombs as property of the state and the privileged white men who run it.  Everyone else is invisible.

That means we need people who are strong enough to fight and win.  Fighting doesn’t mean stooping to Trump’s level.  It can mean, as Kamala Harris has consistently shown, fighting smarter than him while using a few of those tactics that men would like to claim exclusive ownership over.

We saw it in her examination of Jeff Sessions, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Harris as a new member to the committee withstood the constant interruptions by male members that seemed more about protecting Sessions and their dominance over Harris than about form or procedure.

She made Sessions squirm.

We saw her do it again when she examined Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing and recently as she baffled William Barr on the meaning of the word “suggest”.

If we ever needed to ask why electing a woman as president is such a big deal, pretend for a moment that white men are entitled to a monopoly over the presidency and all aspects of power.

In Trump’s White House women are invisible and silent except when they are pretending to oppose cyber-bullying,  pretending to oppose the policies of family separation  and putting children in cages or violating the Hatch Act to promote Trump.

You see the absence of women in policy.  The past two years were one long face palm as policies look more like something concocted in Russia or one of its European Allies than something made in America.  We see it in roll backs of legal protections for everyone except privileged white men. It’s all over a tax policy that again benefits privilege, which for the most part is white and male. Then there’s a foreign policy that is openly hostile to democracy, the dignity and rights of all human beings while embracing the “strong men” of Turkey, Egypt, China, Russia and its current satellites in eastern Europe and  the Balkans.

The most blatant example of backward policy is the coordinated effort by the far right to overturn Roe v. Wade.  This has absolutely nothing to do with valuing life and Kamala Harris said so.

If you saw Kamala question Sessions, Brett Kavanaugh  or Attorney-General Barr  you saw someone who used her strength, persistence, and excellence from early in her tenure on the national stage.

Whether the abuse is of a person or of power, Harris has shown an ability to expose it and call it out.  With all the damage Trump has done and will continue to do, we need someone ready and able learn and work quickly from the very first day.  We need someone who is used to tough fights and breaking barriers.

If we really want to be sure that women will not be silenced or sent back to the days of silence and coat hangers, we need someone like Kamala Harris who is willing to take on anyone who tries to make any one less than they are, or less than they are capable of being.

Someone who scares the coward in the White House so thoroughly that the best he can come up with as a criticism is to call her “nasty.”