The insistent buzzing of my phone woke me up on Wednesday morning, signalling big news. Sure enough, a woman of Jamaican and South Asian heritage had become the vice-presidential nominee in the United States. It was historic.
Senator Kamala Harris joins forces with Joe Biden to offer Americans a platform that pledges raising the minimum wage, swift action on the climate crisis and more affordable healthcare.
For anyone watching from afar, the selection appears to be a smart move by Biden to garner support from progressive voters. However, the Twittersphere tells a strikingly different story.
Despite Harris being more progressive than Biden on most issues, many on the far left of politics appear disappointed with her selection. An influx of memes take aim at her Senate voting record and “tough on crime” attitude as attorney-general of California. “She’s basically a cop,” one tweet said. An Instagram post complained that “9 times out of 10 she ignores her Indian heritage”.
As I celebrated, many of my fellow progressive friends took to social media to communicate their distaste. Setting aside the accuracy of the allegations, what surprised me most was how closely the attacks mirrored those coming from Trump supporters. Many labelled her experiences as a black, South Asian woman as “inauthentic” because she fell short of their far-left ideals.
Is this an example of Horseshoe theory manifesting in reality? This theory, which suggests that the radical right and radical left have more in common than they realise, has long been labelled a fallacy. However, if the radical left buy into “cancel culture” at this crucial time in political history, it will only help the single biggest threat to the global progressive agenda: Donald Trump.
Our system of politics, even in Australia, has become so focused on candidates’ individual flaws that we are repeatedly failing to see the bigger picture. Despite what side of politics you may fall, the world would be a much kinder place if we were willing to understand that it is policy, not an individual’s history, that determines our political future.
In this case, attacking Harris with pure vitriol and slander detracts from the most progressive policy agenda proposed by a major party. This can only help Trump’s re-election chances.
We should never compromise in the struggle to make the world a fairer place. However, at a certain point, the left must take a step back and ponder whether dogmatic piety will bring its ideals to fruition.
*story by The Sydney Morning Herald