When Joe Biden announced Senator Kamala Harris as his pick for vice president, to say I was surprised would be a lie. For the most part, Biden and Harris share similar political views and appeal to the Democratic establishment. As a Black woman, I am aware of the impact having a woman of color on the ballot has on voter turnout. Harris has also proven on the debate stage to have the tenacity and energy to add much-needed fuel to Biden's campaign. Despite my aversions, I believe Harris's name beside Biden's will help his campaign more than it will hurt it. The choice, at the very least, is a logical one.
Still, I'd be lying if I said I was not disappointed. It was not long ago I was processing the disappointment of Senator Bernie Sanders's presidential defeat. I remember the Zoom calls I joined among members of progressive organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America and the Sunrise Movement. All of us asked the same question: Where do we go from here? I do not think Harris on the ballot provides any reassurance. When I heard Sanders talk about his relentless pursuit of accessible healthcare and education, I felt hope for the first time in years. Where has that gone? Where does that leave me?
The answer among my comrades is split. However, I have decided to vote in November, despite not believing much will change. While I will credit Harris for supporting important issues like the Green New Deal and vowing to eliminate private prisons, I also have to call out her inconsistencies. Harris went from stating she supported Medicare for All at a town hall to flip-flopping and saying she misheard the question. She then confirmed her support for the for-profit private insurance industry. Yes, a Biden ticket is more likely to be malleable to implementing progressive policies, but I am not optimistic.
Regardless, I choose potential stagnation over regression or, worse, a travesty. As a young voter in a flip state like Florida, I know my vote matters. I want to acknowledge the positive precedent having a female vice president of color will set for the future. I am a Black woman, and I know that option did not exist before. I want to maintain that awareness.
I understand that four more years of President Donald Trump will gravely affect our most vulnerable citizens, so I am doing my part. I want to look back and know I made the best possible choice I could. As Sanders’s campaign slogan said, it's not me, it's us.