Americans from coast to coast are framing Kamala Harris’ historic ascension to the Vice President-elect in deeply personal ways. Young girls celebrating in downtown hubs like New York City’s Times Square and Union Square say it’s because Harris “looks like me”, others talk about how America is late to the party and it’s about time there’s a woman in the country’s most powerful office.
Senators who have worked alongside Harris, talk frequently about her tough-as-nails qualities as her superpower. Academics who study Black American history are hopeful about the Biden-Harris transition for the way it speaks to the long arc of the country’s Civil Rights movement. Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude and former Senator Claire McCaskill, in public comments, spoke with palpable excitement about Harris’ historic moment.
Eddie Glaude: “We’ve made history today. I think we need to enjoy it. We need to celebrate that. Look, I’m thinking ofA Kamala Harris, in particular, her ascension to the vice presidency and as the first Black woman to hold that position…I’m thinking about the Atlanta Washerwomen strike of 1881, I’m thinking about Matilda Crawford and Sally Bell, I’m thinking about the Women’s Political Council in Montgomery, who are so central to the Bus Boycott in 1955, Mary Fair Burks and Jo Ann Robbinson. I’m thinking about Ella Baker and Shirley Chisholm. She (Kamala Harris) has an enormous win at her back. Now politicians are only as good as our demands and expectations. We should not assume that Joe Biden is the saviour, that Kamala Harris is the saviour, but we can celebrate this moment, and prepare ourselves for the difficult and challenging work that will begin tomorrow and the next day, but I’m going to enjoy this.”
Claire McCaskill: “Kamala is amazing. I am so lucky to call her a friend, and the country is so lucky to have her be the first woman who is going to have the bright Klieg lights of power. And frankly, press that will be examining her every move, every statement, they’ll go after her outfits, they’ll go after her hair, they’ll figure out a way to go after her husband, they will do all of that, and she’s the right person to stand up to that kind of pressure. This was a wise choice, which reflects on the President-elect. There were many people he could have chosen, and by the way, they were all amazing, but he knew that Kamala, particularly, was ready for the pressure that this job would bring. Joe Biden was the vice president. He knows what it feels like. When Kamala Harris is at that podium tonight, she will be the kind of partner that will make Joe (Biden) proud, and frankly do America well.”