Harris pledges to fight for country’s ideals in accepting VP nomination
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) vowed on Wednesday to “realize the ideals” of the United States in a speech that alternated between biting attacks on President Trump and biographical sketch of her own background as a historic vice presidential pick.
“Joe and I believe that we can build that beloved community. One that is strong and decent, just and kind. One in which we can all see ourselves,” said Harris, who formally accepted her party’s vice presidential nomination.
“That’s the vision that our parents and grandparents fought for. The vision that made my own life possible. The vision that makes the American promise … a promise worth fighting for,” she continued.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden picked Harris last week, and she is now the first Black woman and the first Asian American to join a major political party’s presidential ticket.
Her speech touched on the generations-long struggles over racial injustice and the ongoing threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking in Wilmington, Del., the California senator acknowledged the history-making nature of her candidacy and pledged to work with Biden toward “a vision of our nation as a beloved community, where all are welcome, no matter what we look like, no matter where we come from or who we love.”
Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, delivered a tough assessment of President Trump and his administration, describing a country overtaken by a sense of “chaos” and “incompetence” at the highest levels of government.
She said that under Trump, the United States “feels distant” from its ideals, claiming that the country is at “an inflection point” in its history.
“The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone,” Harris said. “It’s a lot. And here’s the thing: We can do better and deserve so much more.”
She also acknowledged the disproportionate impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on people of color.
“This virus has no eyes, and yet it knows exactly how we see each other — and how we treat each other,” Harris said. “And let’s be clear, there is no vaccine for racism. We’ve gotta do the work.”
Harris did not speak directly about the ongoing protests over racial injustice and police brutality that have spanned the summer. But she did mention the names of two of the Black Americans whose deaths at the hands of police officers helped ignite the protests — George Floyd and Breonna Taylor — vowing to work toward “equal justice under the law.”
“We’ve gotta do the work to fulfill that promise of equal justice under law,” Harris said. “Because, none of us are free until all of us are free.”
Harris’s remarks provided a more sober view of the presidential election than in 2016, when Democrats celebrated Hillary Clinton as the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. While the California senator sought to make the case against Trump, she also noted that “the road ahead will not be easy.”
“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.”
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.