Marking herstory

Kamala Devi Harris will be sworn in as Vice President of the United States on January 20th, 2021 at 11:45 am EST. As Kamala herself said, “But while I may be the first woman in this office, but I will not be the last.” Women and girls all over the United States, indeed all over the world, will tune into their televisions and watch on-line this historic occasion when Senator Kamala Harris takes the oath of Vice President administered by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

I have to say, I have observed many inauguration ceremonies. I think the first one I really recall was Jimmy Carter’s inauguration in 1977. I do not really remember focusing on the swearing-in ceremony for the Vice President — ever. That is until now. Decades after their appointment to the highest court in the land – Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981, Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993, Sonia Sotomayor in 2009, and Elena Kagan in 2009, after Nancy Pelosi became the first woman to be Speaker of the House (for a second time), and after Hillary Clinton came oh so very close to becoming the first woman president of the United States in 2016 (winning the popular vote and losing the electoral college vote), – we finally have a woman Vice President, a woman of color, a daughter of immigrants. And so, we will all tune in early – before noon in Washington, DC , before Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will take the oath of office of the President of the United States of America to watch Kamala Devi Harris take the oath of office of Vice President of the United States of America and listen to the cracked glass shatter to the ground, allowing our daughters and granddaughters to dream big for the future – for themselves and for America.

While I am jubilant at this “herstoric” occasion, I am also fearful.

The events of January 6 have left me scarred and raw. Domestic enemies have taken up arms against the duly elected leaders and government. They have been brainwashed with lies in a media vacuum perpetuated by power-hungry leaders in the Republican Party and conspiracy theorists. I pray for the lives and safety of all our elected leaders. I pray that no violence will disrupt the peaceful transfer of power on January 20th. I pray that we can embark on a process of deprogramming the part of the country that has been caught up in the lies that they have been fed by the Republican leaders, right-wing media, dark channels of the internet and conspiracy theorists.

Democracy is a fragile thing. It must be nurtured by its constituents in order to survive. If half the constituents do not believe in the legitimacy of the process, democracy is doomed to fail. Republican leaders like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senator Ted Cruz, and Senator Josh Hawley told their constituents the election was stolen and not to agree to the results, even when they knew it was not true. There must be a true reckoning by the Republican Party of their part in lying to the public. They must accept the consequences of their words which have inevitably led to horrific actions, including six dead and dozens injured. The Republican Party is not solely responsible. They failed to call out the crackpots and conspiracy theorists who further fanned the flames of their lies. They went on right-wing media networks and lied repeatedly for the talking heads who took those statements and made opinion pieces about them – further propagating the lies in a perfect echo chamber. In Israel, the radio and television stations continue to invite GOP apologist, Marc Zell, Chair of Republicans Overseas Israel, to spread the lie that the election was stolen while saying he abhors the violence. The media must stop allowing insurrectionists to use their airways to spread lies.

The public needs to learn to hear balanced truth in reporting in all news media and communications platforms. We need regulations that will call out lies and note when items are opinion. The public must be taught how to discern and consume the news they hear, see and read. It is essential for the survival of the republic. I hope the media will consider measures that will bolster democracy. I encourage the Biden-Harris Administration to invest in civics education for all Americans. Apparently, it has been neglected for far too long.

We have good, strong, decent leadership in Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I believe with this team at the helm, our best days are yet to come – as America builds back better – better than ever.

About the Author
Heather Stone is visually impaired following brain surgery in 2017 and is learning to navigate the world differently. She worked for leading law firms in Tel Aviv for more than 20 years, and has expertise in international mergers and acquisitions law. She is the Chair of Democrats Abroad Israel - www.democratsabroad.org and heads up VoteFromAbroad Israel - www.votefromabroad.org
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