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Kamala Harris was set up to fail (Ayaan Hirsi Ali)


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What's progressive about a failed black woman?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Jan. 13 2022

When I was a young girl in Somalia, I would listen to the grown-ups around me ask my brother: “What would you like to be when you grow up?” No one ever asked me this.

But I always interrupted. I shouted over him to say things like “When I grow up, I will be a doctor”, or “Maybe I’ll go into engineering”, or “I will be President!”. I fantasised about becoming an army general so I could set my father free from prison, where he was being held as a political prisoner. Every time I saw a plane fly overhead (which was not as frequent back in those days), I would declare that I would grow up to be a pilot. I thought I had limitless options. I was a dreamer.


Enter Kamala Harris. When Joe Biden was searching for a running mate, it seems he had just two requirements: black and female. The Democratic Party agreed, pressuring Biden to select a “diverse” candidate for vice president; at one point, he boasted of having to choose between four black women. Biden plucked out Harris from his narrow search field and what did he get? A vice president who is unhelpful in advancing his agenda and unable to connect with the American people.

This week marked the second time Biden slipped up and referred to his deputy as “President Harris”. But don’t be fooled. His mistake says more about his own level of competence than Harris’s. As we approach the one-year mark of Biden’s presidency, it is obvious that Harris was set up for failure from the start. She had neither the experience nor the demeanour to be a successful vice president. Biden’s approval ratings may have slumped, but they have nothing on his Veep’s.


What today’s activists fail to understand is that the key for any woman to succeed remains the same as it has always been: to prove that she is capable. Simply ticking the boxes of “female” or “minority” and expecting a good outcome might make you feel good about yourself in the short term. But in the real world, it is never enough. In the case of Harris, it is a recipe for incompetence.

I wasn’t wrong to dream of something better when I was a little girl, despite my family’s disbelief. Girls today deserve to do the same, with strong and successful female leaders setting an example. How sad, then, that arguably the most powerful female politician in the world embodies neither of these qualities. All America is left with is a failed black woman. And there’s nothing progressive about that.


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