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Somehow I could not find a photo that captured how WHITE Pence looked, compared to Harris. He is NOT ruddy. He is the whitest white man you could ever imagine, who’s not an albino. Harris looked so great compared to him on the divided close-up.

First: Of course Harris “won.” She was intelligent and articulate. Pence is smug, pompous and a liar, because he has to be to have anything to stand on at all.

Second: As we already know, debating is not Harris’s strong point. After starting off in the lead in the primary, she dropped out early because people weren’t thrilled by her debate performances. To me, it’s because she seems too cagey, like she’s triangulating on issues so that she’ll alienate the fewest people. That’s how I felt Wednesday night.

When I’ve seen her interviewed, when she gave a prepared speech at the Convention, I saw a real person there. In this debate, I saw a politician who perhaps had been told she should smile a lot so that people wouldn’t think she’s PUSHY. (Funny how men are never ever, no matter what they do, pushy. That word is reserved for women.)

Of course, Harris is burdened with an ENORMOUS handicap, as A WOMAN. Goddess forbid she should remind anyone of Hilary Clinton! (Who would have been an outstanding President to have during the pandemic, by the way) A woman has to be strong but not too strong, assertive but not aggressive.

That’s why a politician like Bella Abzug was so exciting. She didn’t give a shit about any of those boundaries. Talk about PUSHY — Bella BULLDOZED her way through the world! There was no hope of containing her within the cage of femininity.

Of course, Harris is also BLACK, and trails behind her all the stereotypes about Black women. Damn. That’s a LOT of stereotypes, combined with the whole woman thing. In fact, black women have come up with a word that exemplifies the double burden they carry when they seek power in the world: misogynoir. That is, a combo of the word for hating women and the French word for black. Very nice. Even elegant.

So Kamala. Hard not to just use her first name, which is so beautiful and distinctive. When I think of the extreme tension of the occasion and the difficult path she as a black woman had to negotiate, I find it difficult to pass judgment on her. She was fine. But frankly, I was a tad disappointed in her passionate and repeated emphasis that “Biden will not end fracking!” Hello?!? Kam & Joe?! What about that Global Warming thingie???

Are there really that many voters so deeply attached to fracking that the Dems cannot risk the possibility of alienating them? For me, with the Democrats, it always comes down to half a loaf being better than none. The difference THIS time is that the half a loaf is unbelievably precious.

Third, A Serious Missed Opportunity: The most important moment of the Biden/Trump debate the week before was when the moderator AND Biden held Trump’s feet to the fire about whether he supported white supremacist groups or not. The fact that Trump could not disavow them and even ENCOURAGED them was very important information to the voters.

A similar moment was set up by the moderator when she asked what the V.P. candidates would do if Der Toddler loses and refuses to concede. This was a time for Harris to let her outrage FLY! This is an unprecedented situation in our history and, if it happens, could be the end of our democracy. Harris in no way reflected the drastic nature of this question in her response. In fact, she NORMALIZED it by dealing with it as if it were an issue equivalent with immigration or raising taxes, ending up urging everyone to vote, as she smiled that damn smile. Neither the moderator nor Harris in any way forced Pence to say what he would do if Trump refuses to go. They allowed him to blather on about a supposedly flawed electoral process.

That was a great disappointment to me. Oh well. Harris has no more debates in her future until she runs for re-election four years from now.

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Written by

Terry Baum is an actress, director, teacher, filmmaker, political activist, and award-winning lesbian playwright. Her blog BAUMBLOG is a “Top 100 LGBTQ Blog.”

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