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Kamala Harris to Trump: Out of my way

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We knew it was coming. Just listen to the racist, birtherist gibberish that came out of Trump’s mouth only 48 hours after Joe Biden announced that he had picked Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his running mate on Tuesday.

This article first appeared in Salon.

“I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” Trump said of Harris at his so-called coronavirus briefing on Thursday, questioning her eligibility under the Constitution to run for office. “I have no idea if that’s right. I would have thought, I would have assumed, that the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president.”

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They were ready for her, of course. They had a right-wing loon named John C. Eastman waiting in the wings with an article ready to go in Newsweek espousing a rationale that the birthright citizenship granted under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution somehow skips Kamala Harris’ birth in Oakland, California, in 1964 and doesn’t apply to her. Somebody must have woken Trump up and tickled what remains of his medulla oblongata on Wednesday morning and showed him a tweet of Eastman’s insane “theory,” because that’s what Trump had for her on Thursday. He puked up the same lie he spent five years babbling about Barack Obama. She doesn’t look right. Her parents weren’t born here. She’s not one of us. She’s not eligible to run for vice president.

If I were Kamala Harris, I’d be masking up and getting ready to run and I’d be thanking Donald Trump for giving me the biggest gift he could give less than three months before the election. He’s an aging white man who has spent a quarter of the time he’s been president in the company of other aging white men out on a golf course wearing ridiculous white shoes hitting a little white ball and chasing it around in a little electric cart, and he’s telling the world that he wants to run as an out-and-out racist.

Kamala Harris is the perfect candidate to run alongside Joe Biden. By choosing Harris as his running mate, Biden is signalling that the old guard of the Democratic Party is ready for the younger Democrats of the future to take over. Harris is a leader of what we might call the “get out of the way generation,” which is younger, browner, blacker, more female and more open to the kinds of change that will have to take place during this century if we’re going to save the planet and not kill ourselves in the process.

Look at what the white-male, white-shoe golfer generation has done for us. Trump and Mike Pence and Steve Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow and Mike Pompeo and Bill Barr and the rest of them have stood around scratching their asses and picking their noses and betting on whether their next drive will reach the green while more than 168,000 of us have died. As many as 31 million Americans are unemployed. Tens of millions of school children won’t be returning to their classrooms as the school year begins this month and next. Travel restrictions in foreign countries have locked us within the boundaries of our own country. Trump’s wall along the border will be remembered more for keeping us in than for keeping others out.

Joe Biden is the right candidate for this year. People know him. He’s like an old pair of Nikes. He’s comfortable, he’s reliable, he fits. He’s right for the party, he’s right for the time, and he’s right for the contest against a gibbering racist lunatic like Trump.

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In a year when Black Lives Matter finally broke through and became the new civil rights movement we’ve been waiting for, Kamala Harris should take an example from the people in the streets and confront Trump and Pence head-on. She should call them out as the crazy people they are, and she should use the words that describe them accurately: racist, sexist, ignorant, stupid. People are ready to hear the truth, and they’re ready to hear it from Kamala Harris.

What the Black Lives Matter demonstrations showed, as much as anything else, was how tired people are of the way things have been going in this country. You don’t have to look at the polls to see that people are tired of a president who lies every time he opens his mouth. They’re tired of a government run by a political party that couldn’t unite the wealthiest, most technologically advanced country in the world to confront a virus that started taking American lives back in February and hasn’t let up.

People are sick of racism. They’re sick of ignorance. They’re sick of people’s wealth and money and connections and skin color counting for more than character and what is right. They’re sick of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz and Mike Pence and the rest of them sitting back and doing nothing while our brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers and children and friends and neighbors are carted away in ambulances to hospitals to die. We could have united as a country behind a rational plan to deal with an illness that we know could be controlled. We’ve done it before. We did it with polio. We did it with Ebola. We did it with SARS. We know how to manage diseases that sicken us and kill us, but we didn’t have a president who would unite us and lead us. We had a simpering, lying, frightened fool who wanted to “open up” so he could get back on the golf course with his white male buddies. We had Trump.

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In Kamala Harris, Biden picked a woman who stands for everything that Trump is not. This is the perfect year for her to run for vice president. All she has to do is stand there to be a rejoinder to Trump’s racism and sexism and xenophobia. Her very presence on the Democratic ticket is to say, look at me. This is who I am. Look at yourselves. This is who we are. We are the future. We are America, not them.

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