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Senator Kamala Harris Makes History; First Black Woman to Participate in Vice Presidential Debate
By Betti Halsell, Contributing Writer
Published October 9, 2020

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., waves as she arrives on stage for the vice presidential debate with Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Kingsbury Hall on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

For the first time in United States History, a Black Woman has participated in the Vice Presidential Debate.  Mediated by Susan Page, Senator Kamala Harris and current Vice President Mike Pence addressed pressing issues such as COVID-19, climate change, and police reform.

There was a spectrum of concern and a variety of solutions presented in theory. However, the element of finding the truth behind what was said from both administrations earned a deeper investigation. In this political climate, the nation is looking at the priority level and how issues are listed in valued order.

Vice President Mike Pence responds to Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., during the vice presidential debate Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Kingsbury Hall on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Everyone living through these times of global hardship and social awareness, have a heightened sense of concern towards regional and national leadership. Harris pointed out where the country is so far  and much more ground America needs to cover.

The Vice Presidential debate was 90-minutes long at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City Utah, the candidates had two minutes each to present their ideology behind major concerns such as the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, foreign relationships, and racial equality as it pertains to police reform. The debate was live on ABC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC and PBS Utah.

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Harris was the first to answer a question about the country’s response to COVID-19, she started with describing the current condition of the nation under the Trump Administration. She presented the case that a large amount of the severity of the virus could have been subdued, if the current presidential administration would have been more transparent and prepared for the virus, sooner.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., responds to Vice President Mike Pence during the vice presidential debate Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Kingsbury Hall on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Harris elaborated on her claim of the Trump party, stating that they have an “obsession,” of dismantling policies and infrastructure that was previously outlined by former president Barack Obama. She emphasized the weight behind that power struggle ultimately caused the country thousands of lives and hardship.

The impact of COVID-19 has reared itself to becoming the main priority on a global perspective. There is concern about protection, prevention, and how the country will recover from one of the biggest regressive conditions in the 21st century.

Coronavirus even took shape in the form of the design of the physical debate. The candidates were 12 feet apart, with plexi glass between their booths. Family members  and the small audience were at another safe distance and required to wear masks.

There was a call for a civil discussion about hot ticketed items, although showing more restraint than the main presidential debate between Trump and Biden, there were pockets of heat that came from both vice president candidates.

There was a total of nine segments, each section was given approximately ten minutes for focused discussion. For example in the topic of foreign policy, the terms “unsafe” and “war” were being thrown around in relation to the current footing on  America’s alliance with other countries. The pull from manufacturing in China cost a “recession” in that industry according to Harris.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., responds to Vice President Mike Pence during the vice presidential debate Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Kingsbury Hall on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

So far, within the Trump administration, foreign relationship has not been defined as an equitable courtship, it has been geared to read “what can other countries do for America.” According to Harris, This type of mindset has left the nation vulnerable.

The Obama Administration left an infrastructure with progress in mind. Harris mentioned the former president and his relationship to the prevention of devastating mortality rates.  The Obama administration cultivated a program that specifically focused on deadly diseases; the Trump administration made it a priority to dismantle. Harris explored the possibilities if that platform were still intact and where the country would be today if it wasn’t dismantled.

Senator Harris painted a picture of capitol hill reflecting diversity and sharing common ground in building relationships with social tools such as, loyalty, commitment, and keeping solidarity within any given word. Harris gave examples of how the Trump Administration are losing critical relationships in the midst of a shared pandemic. The message from current leadership is not portraying severity of the virus, it has been focused on where to place the blame of the pandemic rather than the unity it will need to fight back.

When looking through the lens of Senator Harris, this misstep and level of pride within the White House is causing Isolationism, which is taking nationalism a step further. Not only is this country coming off arrogant, but there is also tones of superiority and an untouchable bias that is fuming from toxic behavior from the oval office. Harris dissected that thought and presented the parts in which this can be detrimental to the overall well-being of the country, during a time where nuclear weapons are being studied.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., makes a point during the vice presidential debate with Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Kingsbury Hall on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Candidates only had two minutes to respond to life changing topics, and within the first few seconds they spent their time trying to tear down the other parties footing. Harris emphasized the lack of transparency coming from the current president, “… the American people have a right to know what is influencing the President’s decisions. And is he making those decisions on the best interests of the American people, of you, or self-interest?” Vice President Mike Pence on a different topic threw mud and stated, “Lost the trade war with China? Joe Biden never fought it,”

However, the solutions for each question were not as clear as the deconstruction from both sides. With the desperate need to heal, there is no room for the nation’s hands to be balled up in a fist. There is a call for the country to be open in receiving help and extending that hand towards others, as we waiver through a global pandemic and social change together.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is kissed by her husband Douglas Emhoff following the vice presidential debate with Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Kingsbury Hall on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

 

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