Early voting has now begun in many states, and we have seen the first rounds of the Presidential debates as well as the Vice Presidential debates. This may very well be the last rounds of debates as COVID-19 is now ravaging its way through not only our President but his staff officials. After the first debate, many voters voiced their disappointment at the complete breakdown of the moderator to control the uncontrollable President Trump. This left many wondering would the Vice Presidential debate be any better at giving a full picture to what each platform had created to fix what is now one of the worst presidencies in American history.
Like most voters heading to the polls in their respective states for early voting, you probably already know which way you will vote. And if history is any indicator, we all know which way Black women will be voting again in 2020. However, that still does not excuse us from the responsibility to educate ourselves on our potential leaders' platforms, making sure we are voting down the ballot in our state and local government elections as well. This article is not to persuade you to vote one way or another but rather to give you information so that no matter who gets into office, we fulfill our duty as citizens of this country, to hold our elected officials accountable to things they promised us in exchange for our vote. The work does not stop after the election, the work of the fight for the rights of the people is just beginning.
This debate offered a lot more in the way of policymaking and changes needed for leadership in the next four years. Here are a few of the highlights:
The opening topic for this debate was obviously the pandemic that has now taken 200,000+ American lives. It is the most urgent concern in many people's lives as the COVID-19 illness has touched any and every one no matter the race, religion, or creed. We are already experiencing what the Trump administration has done for the people of this country and are still not trusting of his lead going into the future. A few points made by Harris on the handling of the pandemic and what the Biden administration plans to do when they first get into office are:
- The Biden campaign has a plan to start containing COVID-19 by creating a national strategy for contact tracing and creating a vaccine for all that is free.
- Harris ended on a strong point to voters to remember the panic and how they felt when this all started and leadership was behind the ball. "How calm were you when you didn't know where you would get your next roll of paper, when your kids were sent home from school, when your kids couldn't visit your parents because they were afraid they would kill them?"
On if Voters Should Know the Health Condition of Presidential Candidates
This topic is an interesting one because this Presidential election has some of the oldest candidates in American history on the ticket. With 45 being 74 at the time of the election and Biden being 78, the issue of what will happen if the President ever becomes disabled and unavailable to perform the duties of the office are warranted. As you may know, there is a succession of power that is enacted if a sitting President ever becomes incapacitated. We have seen this in history many times but one that you may remember is the assassination of JFK. Lyndon B. Johnson was immediately sworn in as to not have any disruption in power. With two aging candidates, the importance of a potential VP is also a consideration on many voters' minds.
What can be gathered from the cleverly crafted answer from Harris is that Biden chose her because they share similar values in hard work, public service, and fighting for the dignity of people. Also, Biden made his choice based on her career in criminal justice as well as her time and work in the US Senate. They both believe that they can share in the purpose of uplifting the American people around their common core values and principles. Harris also believes that transparency in the health of each candidate is necessary for the voters. Not only should this transparency be applied to health status but also to taxes. This is when Harris reminded voters that 45 has only paid $750 in taxes and according to those taxes, he owes millions of dollars to unknown sources. Harris stated 45 is $400,000 in debt, which she followed with, "Do you know what debt means, you owe somebody."
On American Economy and Climate Change
The American economy and the climate are both burning fires, literally and figuratively. Due to the pandemic, millions are out of jobs and are unable to pay at the very least their rent. With man-made change to the climate, we are starting to see larger hurricanes at a more frequent rate, enormous forest fires engulfing California, terrible air quality, etc. These two issues may seem to be disconnected but work very much in consequence with one another. Let's just jump into what Harris said the Biden campaign will do about both:
- The bill that was passed to provide a tax loop for the top 1%, Biden will get rid of this bill and reinvest those funds into the American people.
- They will also invest in roads, infrastructure, and clean energy.
- Funds will be used for education to provide college for free at 2-year universities, families that make less than a determined amount will be able to attend public 4-year institutions for free
- Student loans will be cut by $10,000
- Taxes will not be raised on families who make less than $400,000/year
- Will not end fracking
- Will continue to support AHCA to make sure families do not go bankrupt trying to receive medical services
- Climate change is an existential crisis
- Biden has a plan to create 7 million jobs that will be in the clean and renewable energy sector
- This platform believes in science and will use it to help in the fight against climate change
- US will reenter the Paris Agreement
On the Supreme Court and Pre-Existing Conditions
With the recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, there is a seat vacant on the supreme court at what is a pretty unusual time. It has been argued that the seat should be filled by the next sitting President, but as we know 45 is trying to get Amy Coney Barrett in the remaining seat before the election. Here is where the Biden/Harris campaign stand on choosing a new justice at this time:
- Biden believes that we are in an election and that the American people should choose who fills that seat. Simply put, the next President should be voted in and that person should be able to make the appointment.
The decision of the Supreme Court appointment also raises questions about very important Supreme Court decisions such as Roe vs. Wade and current cases like the AHCA and pre-existing conditions. The very fate of not only the healthcare system but women's rights hangs in the balance. Harris never really answered the question of whether or not she was pro-choice or pro-life directly but she had these points to make:
- Harris and Biden both consider themselves to be people of faith and that should never be questioned.
- Harris will always fight for the rights of women to do whatever they want with their bodies.
- ACHA will continue to cover pre-existing conditions by expanding coverage for those who need it.
On Racial Injustice:
This year has been intense with the issues of racial injustices being front and center. We have seen many of these very moments played out on video which has energized marginalized communities to organize and protest. Atrocities against people of color in this country are what weaves the story of America together. With the current state of racial tensions, the question was necessary for this debate. Especially after 45 refused to denounce white supremacy in the Presidential debate, calling on the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by." This was also followed up by Pence denying systematic racism's very existence and putting his full faith in an obviously problematic judicial and law enforcement system. Harris, who has an extensive background in criminal justice laid out what the Biden administration's platform around racial injustice would be:
- Harris stated that she believes that Breonna Taylor was a beautiful woman with dreams and aspirations. Harris was able to sit down and speak with her mother and still believes she deserves justice.
- Harris was a part of a few of the recent protests happening and marched for equal justice. Harris feels the protests were peaceful but does not approve of the violence that has occurred.
- Harris stated, "Bad cops are bad for good cops." Which is the focal point of what needs to be unpacked to be able to reform policing.
- The Biden/Harris platform believes in police reform which involves a ban on chokeholds, a national registry to identify bad cops, decriminalization of marijuana, getting rid of cash bails, and doing away with industrialized prisons.
For more information on the Biden/Harris campaign vision, click HERE.
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Featured image by Giphy.