You don’t need an ordinary “Trini” calling his local radio station to advise it’s just a matter of time before US President Joe Biden steps off the big stage for greener pastures.
For while the Democrats insist on propping up their symbolic leader for whatever strategic reasons they alone know, it’s obvious to everybody else that the old war horse of which we are all proud, must leave before he embarrassingly collapses at the podium.
In the gap, there is so much to be said for the dignified, exemplary and elegant manner in which VP Kamala Harris is waiting in the wings to ascend into the exalted position when the time arrives.
Looking ever cool, calm, even-minded and collected, Harris’ poise reflects the kind of confidence and resilience which has been displayed by her fellow Caribbean immigrants who braved the various tides of change to establish themselves as a formidable human force in the USA over the years.
It is out of this cultural milieu that Kamala has evolved with skills to cope, coax and master the various challenges facing her as an immigrant, a woman and a very ambitious black citizen of the mighty US where, upon her arrival, black lives did not really seem to matter.
Like the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival band producers who are famous for bringing order out of chaos to successfully pull off a sensational last-minute show, Harris seems to have copied her Caribbean contemporaries with the employment of this modus operandi in her campaign for the US vice presidency – much to the distress of her handlers.
“The organizational unsteadiness of Ms. Harris’s campaign reflects a longtime personal trait, according to allies: she is a candidate who seeks input from a stable of advisers, but her personal political convictions can be unclear”, one of Harris’ advisers was quoted as saying in the New York Times.
“In June, her gifts and liabilities were both on display. She scored the campaign’s biggest debate moment in her confrontation with Mr. Biden over his record on school busing — but also stepped into a morass of hazy talk on health care and the current desegregation of schools”, the writers added.
If you listen to her critics, you will be surprised that Kamala Harris even made the cut.
“Ms. Harris is the only 2020 Democrat who has fallen hard out of the top tier of candidates. She has proved to be an uneven campaigner who changes her message and tactics to little effect and has a staff torn into factions”.
Anxiety about the direction of the campaign was reflected in the concerns expressed by some advisers.
“The 2020 Democratic field has been defined by its turbulence, with some contenders rising, others dropping out and two more jumping in just this month. Yet there is only one candidate who rocketed to the top tier and then plummeted in early state polls to the low single digits: Ms. Harris”. In light of these very valid misgivings, one is left to ask: what is the unique selling property which Kamala Harris can bring to the country? How come she managed to win this election and what’s the big difference she will make both as VP and President of a land rooted in white Anglo-Saxon tradition and a downright knee-on-your neck stance against black people?
The answer lies in the very qualities inherent to the strengths which Kamala has learned from her Caribbean roots where – coming through the life-changing experiences of slavery, indenture, colonialism and independence – the occupants of these small, dependent Caribbean islands had to devise innovative ways and means to survive.
It is out of these little dots of rock that movers and shakers like Marcus Garvey, Stokley Carmichael ,(Sekou Toure), Harry Belafonte and the organizers of the famous Madison Square Garden Carnival Parade emerged to line up front and centre to identify themselves as a people to contend with for who and what they are, instead of what they were earmarked to be by their previous rulers.
The message which kept constantly through the Harris campaign was that the candidate had an original Caribbean mind of her own and would do her own thing.
Arrogance? You may call it that, but it could be a vital key needed to unlock the mind of the woman who will have to deal with titans like North Korea’s Kim, Russia’s Putin and Iran as she leads the charge in defence of the free world.
In doing so, she’ll draw on the memory of the whip on the back of her ancestors being brought in chains from Africa to the West Indies. She’ll remember the hardship of previous generations being ripped away from India and forced to plant cane in inhumane conditions on the sugar plantations.
Remembering how we were once unable to vote, Kamala Harris will revel in
- the struggles against colonial rule and the achievement of Independence;
- the Carnival as an expression of freedom;
- the Hosay festival as a symbol of spiritual uplift;
- the haunting music of the Caribbean as a reminder of our unbroken dreams.
As the writers put it: “It was her abundant political skills — strong on the stump, a warm manner with voters and ferocity with the opposition that seemed to spell trouble for Mr. Trump — that convinced many Democrats of Ms. Harris’s potential.
“Yet it has come to this: After beginning her candidacy with a speech before 20,000 people in Oakland, some of Ms. Harris’s longtime supporters believe she should consider dropping out in late December — the deadline for taking her name off the California primary ballot — if she does not show political momentum.
“Some advisers are already bracing for a primary challenge, potentially from the billionaire Tom Steyer, should she run for re-election to the Senate in 2022. Her senior aides plan to assess next month whether she’s made sufficient progress to remain in the race”.
It was out of this way of being that the awesome female Caribbean lioness has merged from the jungle, ready to take on all comers to protect her children and help put food on the table for the family.
That is how we know it in the Caribbean. That is what Kamala will show them as the next President of the United States of America. Or, as the local Shouter Baptist hymn goes: “It’s a great change since I was born”
So rest easy, all of America, your new leader has been there and has done that and it is she – Kamala Harris – who is best prepared to lead you forward to the heights of glory as the strong, united nation you have always dreamed about, and which you know you are very capable of achieving in this most opportune moment of a lifetime.