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Basslines and Protest Signs

Basslines and Protest Signs Part 62: Let’s Talk About Kamala

Kamala Harris (photo: Gage Skidmore)

OHTHANKCHRIST! Trump might be rolling around on the floor like a kid who just had his Nintendo taken away, but we now know that Joe Biden will be President of these United States on January 20. I’m not going to pretend to be impartial 62 columns in — excuse the first-person writing and naughty language but I am fucking delighted, relieved, and honestly astounded that 70 million people still voted for Trump. 75 million people voted for the President Elect, which is a record. But 70 million for Trump is the second most votes for a presidential candidate in US history. That is something that Joe Biden and the Democrats are going to have
to address.

But let’s allow ourselves a moment to forget about Trump and focus on the fact that Kamala Harris has become the first woman on a successful presidential ticket in American history. We shouldn’t allow that momentous event to be overshadowed by Trump’s nonsense — Harris deserves this moment.

We also should never forget the misogynistic, racist, vile rhetoric that she has dealt with on the way to victory. We likely won’t be able to — the noise will only amplify when she enters the White House in January. The rhetoric wasn’t particularly surprising — four years ago, Hillary Clinton was faced with similarly disgusting sexist poison. As a woman of color, it was amped up for Harris. 

Whereas Trump’s “locker room talk,” his Stormy Daniels story, and more earned him a “playboy, alpha male” tag, the fact that Harris previously had a consenting relationship with former mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown resulted in loud proclamations that she had “slept her way to the top.” This is demonstrably disgusting and clearly misogynistic. Women simply have to deal with a different level of bullshit than men do. 

Meanwhile, right wingers are keen to point out that she’s not Black, that she’s faking, etc. With a Jamaican dad and Indian mom, Harris is perfectly justified referring to herself as both. We know that but the racists don’t. So fuck ’em.

Faced with that, Harris’ victory is enormous. Representation is important; Harris simultaneously becomes the second person of color to win a presidential ticket (top or bottom), the first woman, the first woman of color — it’s a moment we can look upon with pride, even while the world burns around us.

Let’s also look ahead to the Georgia Senate run-offs scheduled for January 5, and keep our collective feet on the gas. At the time of writing, Biden has a lead of over 10,000 in Georgia and, while there will be a recount, that should be a large enough lead to carry that state at the top of the ticket. But importantly, both Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff will be striving to take the senate for the Democrats (if the number of seats is equal, the vice president is the tie breaker).

You don’t have to live in Georgia to canvas for Georgia, so I’m urging people to volunteer. I know, we’re all exhausted. But this big effort could make it much easier for President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris to get shit done. 

So let’s look at the musicians who are celebrating. It always feels like most (not all, but most) people within the artistic community are on the left, but it’s still fun to hear tham celebrate.

Demi Lovato posted on Instagram, “Our 46th president, Joe Biden!!!! I’ve been waiting to post this photo because I knew deep down you would be our next president. Today we celebrate the millions of Americans who overcame barriers to the ballot box, mobilized their communities, and voted in record-breaking numbers. This was OUR election and WE WON TOGETHER. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but today we will celebrate each other.”

Meanwhile, Lizzo said: “There are few times in this country where I’m hopeful. It feels like every time I’m hopeful, it gets taken away for me. And this time I was hopeful and I was scared and I think Trump is out of office.” In her caption, she wrote: “Let’s get to work, America. It’s time to hold the people in charge
accountable. It’s time for them to listen. And it’s time for actual change in our policies and practices.” 

It wasn’t just contemporary artists either, with Rolling Stone Mick Jagger tweeting, “I’m so looking forward to coming back to an America free of harsh words and name-calling and be amongst people who I know have common ground and harmony. It’s a challenge but it can be done!”

“I can’t forgive. I won’t forget,” wrote Anti-Flag.

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello reposted a video from the night before Trump’s inauguration four years ago. “Welcome brothers and sisters to the anti-inaugural ball,” he said back then. “Tonight is a celebration of resistance. Now is not the time to agonize, now is the time to organize.” He goes on to suggest ways to resist and drive out the Trump and Pence regime. It worked.

English folk rocker Billy Bragg was quick to point out to those who believe there’s no real difference between Trump and Biden that the Muslim ban will be lifted on January 20. Bragg also got time to chuckle about the fact that the defeated Republican candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives is also called Billy Bragg and that has caused some confusion with Google searches.

But wait, we’re all dying to know what Ted Nugent, Kid Rock and that guy from Trapt have to say, right?

Just kidding. Screw ’em.

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