THERE is something tragic about the selection of Kamala Harris to be the running-mate for Joe Biden. I’ll say what presently. But first: selected by whom? The JournoList-style campaign by the media to call off the debates proves (if proof were needed) that the 77 year-old brain surgery veteran himself was not capable of overseeing the background work, psephological analysis and geographical strategising that goes into a ‘veep pick.’ No, the Democratic National Committee selected Harris in the same way a social welfare agency selects one of its ladies to take an old man shopping. The big difference is the lady with a lanyard doesn’t inherit the Presidency if her elderly charge keels over in the biscuit aisle. John F. Kennedy was 43 when he chose Lyndon Johnson – a man he personally loathed – and he crunched the negatives and positives with his brother Bobby (whose hatred of the Texan was even more visceral). The brothers’ stellar inner circle of political capos also made contributions. At the height of his powers in 1960, Jack was a man of superior intelligence. If he needed advice, imagine how much Joe Biden needed. We’re not talking advice really. More like orders.
But the tragic thing is not the insincerity of the process or even the self-humiliation of being on the same ticket as a man Harris believes is guilty of sexual assault. It’s not even reading propaganda scripted by basement big leaguers in Scranton – though Harris’s description of the street terrorists encouraged by Democrats throughout America as a “coalition of conscience” was utterly disgraceful. (Bobby Kennedy had the wisdom, the authority and the courage to tell a black crowd violence wasn’t the answer right after informing it that Martin Luther King Jr – who pioneered the original coalition of conscience – had been shot dead earlier that evening).
No, the tragic thing about Kamala Harris’s selection is that the DNC picked a woman of Indian and Jamaican parentage to be a generic double for an African-American. The intersectional cynicism is designed to placate the Floyd rioters and BLM-ers whose grievances purportedly centre on the agonising lived experience of slavery’s cultural scars. But Harris bears no more of those than her principal. Democrats know the media will play along. Sure they will. I’ve read half a dozen columns today hailing Harris as a brilliant choice for no other reason than that she’s brown. This is not to suggest a ‘genuine’ or ‘full-blooded’ African-American would have been a more suitable partner. The possible successor to a President who dies in office shouldn’t be nominated for having a vulva or an Oprah Winfrey appearance. But to choose a non African-American for the specific purpose of selling her as one reduces her to an Aunt Jemima and a minstrel. And she’s OK with that.