THE big news this week was the Democratic National Convention that took place in the United States. Yes, it’s that time of year when thousands of balloons drop from the ceilings of cavernous halls, with thousands of partisan supporters cheering on their candidates in the biggest fight of their political lives. But this time, there were no thousands of balloons, no cavernous halls, and no masses of cheering supporters either.
What a difference a pandemic makes, indeed. If the sight of masked men and women seated safely distant from each other was not strange enough to witness, in lieu of the usual fanfare and celebrations of conventions past, then possibly the vision of the man and woman on stage who want to be the leaders of the free world for the next four years should have caused enough amazement.
Because as surreal as the social distancing arrangements that this year’s convention has incorporated, it is the composition of the ticket that perhaps this pandemic has served to shape and influence in the persons of former vice president Joe Biden and senator Kamala Harris, running for president and vice president of the United States.
Where do I start with how unusual this arrangement seems on paper, and yet how appropriate given the circumstances in which it was forged?
For a start, Joe Biden did not follow the usual route to the presidential nominations that we have been accustomed to seeing in previous elections. A vice president, especially for someone who was second-in-command to a very successful outgoing predecessor like Barack Obama, should have been expected to challenge for the nominations when the president’s second term ends. Instead, Biden did not exploit the opportunity, and chose to sit out the race that eventually saw Hillary Clinton become the party’s standard bearer. Not that Biden did not have good reason to prefer the sidelines to the campaign trail. One of his sons had just passed away after a lingering illness, leaving the grieving father in no shape to contend for public office.
When we look to his vice presidential running mate, Senator Harris is not your archetypal presidential sidekick either. For a start, no female person of color has ever been nominated for vice president of the United States before. And not only is she a black woman, but she also traces her family lineage back to Tamil Nadu in India, and to Jamaica in the Caribbean. So with her inclusion in the ticket, she not only brings the African-American and women’s votes to the table, but possibly she could also pull in support from Caribbean and Asian immigrant communities, who see in her the fulfillment of their American dream.
With this unusual combination of personnel, the Democrats pack a lot of firepower to this year’s fight. Still smarting from the loss of Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump the last time around–and this despite winning the popular vote–it is not hard to tell that they are not about to tap out of this one without a real kicking, and you can tell that they want to be the ones doing most of it.
All this because the man they want to unseat is, without question, the most divisive character ever to surface in American politics. Donald Trump’s missteps since taking office are too numerous to mention, to the extent that they have been discounted into what Americans think of as the “normal” state of their socio-political affairs.
It took almost four years of embarrassment, and now the humiliation of this pandemic for most Americans (yes, there are those who still live in denial) to realize that they have elected a charlatan into office, and it is about time they removed him from his perch.
It takes more than normal effort to remove a blowhard like Trump from office. In the old West, this is when they herd up the posse, to ride the gun-slinging cowboy out of town.
It looks like Sheriff Joe and Deputy Kamala have their work cut out for them, if they wish to finally drive the outlaw Donald Trump into the political sunset.