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Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

Kamala Harris

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The vice president is not above criticism, but after just a few months on the job, media narratives feel especially spiteful

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images

Although Kamala Harris becoming America’s first female vice president is an historical feat worthy of continued celebration, that has not made the position itself any less of a pain to hold.

Former Vice President John Adams once said of the vice presidency: “My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”

Another former vice president, John Nance Garner, was less interested in prose when conveying his resentment for the job. “The vice presidency is not worth a bucket of warm piss,” Garner once declared; he…


The vice president’s cold handling of a migration crisis conveniently disregards the mess the U.S. has historically made in Central America

Photo: Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris has never looked more like an American politician than she did last week. That is not a compliment.

America’s migration volume is the highest its been in more than 20 years. The most recent spike began after Biden was elected. And thus far, his administration’s handling of the situation has been a capital-F failure.

In March, Biden told Americans that Trump eliminated the $700 million he raised as Obama’s vice president to directly aid the Northern Triangle of Central America (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala). But that’s irrelevant now. The current migration issue is now completely…


By refusing to cop to ingrained oppression in the U.S., political leaders are living in denial

Photo: Bonnie Cash-Pool/Getty Images

Many Americans have been mulling over Republican of South Carolina, Senator Tim Scott’s wildly fantastic rebuttal to President Biden’s address to Congress earlier this week.

These remarks, delivered Wednesday night, found Scott offering jaw-dropping observations about the Republican party that the last four years of American life have proven patently false: that the GOP had a Covid-19 relief plan; that GOP changes to Georgia voting laws will somehow make it easier for more people to vote; that the GOP opposes Supreme Court-packing. It was a fun house mirror of appraisals.

Being a Black person in America, there was one line…


The vice president affirms my daughters’ dreams in ways no man can

Kamala Harris addresses supporters at party headquarters at the Chase Center on November 7, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post/Getty Images

One November night in 2008, I found myself with a house full of crying guests.

It’s not like the evening wasn’t festive. There was gumbo and chicken, cake and wine; we chatted and enjoyed each other’s company, even while we waited for the pivotal moment to arrive.

And then it happened: A Black man was elected president. He wouldn’t be just the president of the United States — he would be our president.

I didn’t even know most of my guests that night. I was relatively new to my suburban neighborhood and invited everyone nearby who I thought would share…


THE ONLY BLACK GUY IN THE OFFICE

Kamala Harris’ appointment to Madam Vice President hits differently for Black college grads like me

Illustration: Michael Kennedy

For many of my co-workers, this inauguration hit different. Mostly for good reasons. After four years marked by incompetence, negligence, and frequent abuses of power at the presidential level, we were all elated to see last week’s changing of the guard. There was a noticeable optimism beaming through everyone’s Zoom windows throughout the day. (I even put myself on mute during a meeting to bump “FDT” for a bit.)

But that’s not the only reason this inauguration felt special. It wasn’t the Covid-era masks that everyone was wearing, or Bernie Sanders’ viral normcore fashion statement in front of the same…


The momentousness of Kamala Harris’ ascension deserved more

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

I’m just gonna say it: Black folks were robbed of the opportunity to show out for Kamala Harris on Inauguration Day.

Joe Biden may have topped the ticket that mollywhopped Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, but the only enjoyable part of an otherwise miserable campaign for me was the excitement his running mate instilled in some of us. …


It’s an embarrassment of riches in our weekly roundup of the world’s most preventable disease!

Death and taxes used to be the only two certainties in life — but no matter how much progress it feels like we’re making sometimes, the sad fact is you can probably slide racism into that list. Are we in a moment of uprising that feels like it has the potential to create real, systemic change? Yes. Do people and organizations still show their ass on a daily basis? Oh, most definitely. And to keep tabs on all that ass-showing, we’re pleased to introduce our weekly racism surveillance machine. …


JUST RANKIN’ SH!T

Internet gon’ internet!

5. Democrats pay homage

This classic pre-Covid-19 Key & Peele skit about handshakes and code-switching has been flipped an infinite number of times, yet every remixed meme feels fresh. The 2020 election version is one of the very few gifts the electoral college has blessed this nation.

4. Trump refuses to accept his L

You gotta be high on something much stronger than quaaludes if you think this Wolf of Wall Street scene couldn’t play out in reality (Jordan Belfort, who wrote the film’s source material, agrees). There are reports circulating that suggest that Trump will not willingly exit the White House upon Biden’s inauguration, in which case the…


JUST RANKIN’ SH!T

When you’re the only buzz of the night, you gotta take your talents elsewhere

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty

5. Lincoln vs. Douglas, 1858

No moderator, no interruptions, no cameras. Just nine separate three-hour debates that drew crowds from across Illinois to hear the would-be senators spit fire. (For real: each candidate spoke for an hour, then each got 90 minutes to rebut the other, then each got a 30-minute closer.) We don’t even know if a fly can live 27 hours, let alone get from Springfield to Chicago, but if it could catch a ride in Stephen Douglas’ neck folds or something? LEGEND.

4. Obama vs. McCain, 2008

Granted, a debate’s not a speech, but damned if listening to 44 wax extemporaneous wouldn’t have inspired that fly to…


Too bad we’re all stuck at home and our current president doesn’t know how to protect us from anything

Photo: Clay Banks via Unsplash

I am a Democrat by default. They piss me off a lot, honestly. I don’t register as Independent or Green Party only because I prefer to vote for candidates who might win an election at some point.

If a Republican ever came along who could manage not to be a Marvel villain and supported issues I agreed with, I’d vote for them. So, trust me, I’m fully aware of what the Democrats haven’t done and why so many people are cynical about voting for the “lesser of two evils.” The two-party system is corny. But the reality is that’s where…

LEVEL

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