We first explored the moxie of Kamala Harris three years ago. Then, she was the junior senator from California, and less than a year into her term rumors of a presidential bid were already beginning to rumble.
Now Harris is Joe Biden’s running mate, and after her official nomination this week, her name will be on the Democratic ticket for vice president of the United States on Election Day in November.
We’ve seen more of Harris’ moxie in the last three years.
Moxie personalizes the political.
In June 2019, in perhaps one of the most powerful moments of the Democratic primary debates, Harris confronted Joe Biden over his willingness to work with and compromise with notorious segregationists. Harris cited her own experience with segregation as a child in California. She was among the early classes of those who integrated schools and endured long bus rides as a small child to attend schools in a school that had been primarily white.
Much has changed since that debate. In the wake of the killings of several Black people at the hands of the police and alleged coverups at the hands of investigators and prosecutors, the country has been roiled by protests calling for an end to systemic racism.
Even in the midst of the country’s moment of reckoning with racism, Harris is still being openly and brazenly attacked with racist tropes. No less than the president himself has suggested that she’s “not qualified” for the office due to questions around her citizenship. It’s an old argument levied almost exclusively against people of color. President Obama endured the same accusations for years.
For Kamala, racism is not a second-hand, academic thought exercise. It is a lived experience. Even so, she’s powered her way to the top with moxie.
Moxie takes its measure.
Listening to Harris question witnesses before the Senate is a master class in measure and reason. Harris dismantles witnesses with precision and clarity just like the prosecutor she is. I almost felt sorry for US Attorney General Bill Barr during this exchange.
Her path to the Senate began as the San Francisco District Attorney, then the Attorney General of the state of California. Before Biden named her as his running mate, there was talk that she would make a great Attorney General of the United States if Biden wins in November.
Harris shows up with her facts in order and her arguments practiced and sharp. One gets the impression that she’s considered all angles of an issue carefully, and she’s staked out her ground at the delta of what she believes is right and what she believes is achievable.
That skill set and disposition will come in handy on the campaign trail as she makes the case against President Donald Trump. She’ll need to convince voters that Trump has failed with his handling of the economy, trade policy, the Coronavirus pandemic, and more, and does not deserve a second term.
Moxie builds on ‘Momentum.’
It’s fascinating to me how often people with moxie seem to learn it at the feet of their parents. That certainly seems to be the case for Harris.
Harris’ mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, came to the United States to study in the 1960s. She became active in the civil rights movement and met Kamala’s father, a fellow student from Jamaica. Shyamala came by her independent ways naturally. Her family back in India was progressive and encouraged their children to be independent high-achievers.
Shyamala’s father was a civil servant who was strongly dedicated to integrity, ethics, and civil rights. It’s little wonder that his eldest daughter would build on the principles she’d learned in India for her new life in America. And it’s little wonder that his grand-daughter would do the same.
Kamala Harris’ Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamala_Harris
Joe Biden’s Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Biden