Tag Archives: Kamala Harris

Wishing to put distance between now and the immediate past

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It might be just me, but I am sensing a serious desire among many millions of Americans who yearn to welcome a new presidential administration with an extra sense of zeal.

We’ve been through a tumultuous past four years. It started with a president declaring an end to what he called “this American carnage.” The presidential term ended with another rash of carnage spilling on the steps of our nation’s Capitol Building, inside the structure, threatening the very democratic process that makes us proud to be Americans.

We somehow got through the horrible event of the Sixth of January. The House the following week then impeached the president for inciting the riot that erupted on Capitol Hill. A week after that we welcomed President Biden and Vice President Harris to the pinnacle of power.

The former president jetted off to Florida. Vice President Pence managed to shake the hands of the new president and vice president.

I cannot possibly know what is in the hearts of all Americans. My own heart is quite full tonight after watching one of the strangest inaugurals I ever have witnessed.

There were no large crowds. No grand parade. The former president and the new president did not share a limo ride from the White House to the Capitol.

Throughout the day, my sense has been a feeling of relief that the past is behind us along with a strong desire to put it farther behind us … in rapid fashion!

Yes, many crises confront the new president and vice president. The pandemic needs focused attention from the center of our federal government. Our worldwide allies need assurance that our nation has returned to its rightful place on center stage. Our climate is changing. Our nation is torn by racial strife.

I get a sense that we now have considerable faith in President Biden and Vice President Harris are up to the task of moving us forward.

How to react to new POTUS?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The day is progressing and as Donald Trump completes his tumultuous term as president of the United States, I am left to grapple with a bit of conflict among my emotions.

Oh, make no mistake, my overarching emotion will be of happiness that this vile, venal, vicious human being will no longer represent me as president. Joseph Biden Jr. presents a return to a more “normal” head of state/commander in chief.

His predecessor will take off Wednesday morning from Andrews Joint Base. He’ll head to Florida. He will be gone from my house, our house. That is all good.

I am wondering now, on this day before, whether the moment Biden and Kamala Harris take their oaths will produce some sort of emotional response. You know … will I well up, swallow hard. Yeah, probably.

That’s OK. I also am trying to dial back my expectations of what President Biden will be able to accomplish. The pandemic is no respecter of who’s in charge of affairs in Washington. The 100-day mask-wearing request seems reasonable to me. Biden will order masks to be worn on all federal property; that, too, makes perfect sense.

He wants us to pull together as Americans, patriots, lovers of our country. Hey, I’m all in.

A big day awaits us Wednesday. It should be full of emotion for all Americans and I include even those who are sorry to see Donald Trump fly away into private life. I can’t speak to how they will react. It’s of no concern to me, frankly.

I am just looking forward to a new day.

POTUS-VPOTUS pairing more critical than ever

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The ghastly insurrection the world witnessed this past week has torn open many sores, revealed many flashpoints about our government.

One of them involves the relationship between the president and vice president. It is now on full display and that pairing becomes even more critical as we move in just eight days from one administration to the next one.

Donald Trump exhorted the mob to march on the Capitol Building, where at that very moment Vice President Mike Pence was presiding over a congressional session to ratify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Spoiler alert: Trump lost that one; President-elect Joe Biden won bigly.

Trump tried for days to browbeat Pence into doing something he had no power to do, to ignore the Electoral College results and declare that Trump won. Pence told Trump he had to follow the Constitution. That didn’t set well with Trump. He reportedly was furious with the VP.

The mob stormed into the Capitol Building. It occupied the speaker’s office, ransacked several other offices, stole computers … and sent the congressional session scurrying for cover. That included Pence. Oh, and rioters also were yelling “Hang Mike Pence!” while they were bludgeoning overwhelmed police officers with flag poles flying Old Glory.

It took Trump six days to even talk to the vice president after the attack. Did I mention that the rioters were intent on harming or killing the vice president?

I believe I can say this with confidence, but Trump never valued the experience that Mike Pence brought to the administration. Trump chose Pence because Pence is a darling of the evangelical Christian movement, which Trump manipulated during his term in office. Pence was a Trump toadie to the core, standing up for Trump even as the president embarrassed and shamed the presidency and even as he told lie after lie to the public.

They will be gone soon. President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will bring an entirely new and presumably more constructive relationship to the executive branch of government.

Try to imagine President Biden turning his back on Vice President Harris were she put into the spot Pence found himself during the insurrection. It would never happen.

For that matter, Biden’s role as VP during the Barack Obama administration wrote a new chapter in that relationship that should become the standard for future administrations to follow. President Obama routinely refers to himself and his family as “honorary Bidens” and describes the new president as his “brother.”

Yes, this relationship is critical to the max. We are witnessing in real time just how dysfunction can ruin such a pairing and the potential it has for ruining the conduct of our government.

Ready to use the term ‘president’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Allow me this moment to boast.

I made a vow four years ago that I never would attach the term “President” in front of “Trump” consecutively, that I was so repulsed by Donald Trump’s election that I could not possibly bestow the title directly in front of his name.

My pledge rankled many of the Trumpkins who still read this blog. I stand as firmly behind that pledge today as I did when I made it to myself — and declared it publicly — four years ago when Donald Trump became president.

Indeed, the events of the past week only have solidified in my own mind and heart the decision I made. Accordingly, with a new president and vice president about to take office I gladly will refer to President Biden and Vice President Harris.

To be fair and in the interest of full disclosure, I have referred on this blog to Mike Pence as Vice President Pence. Why the VP and not the president? Because my loathing of Trump is so intense, so visceral and so personal that I just couldn’t bring myself to bestow the title of president on him while writing about him. Pence is not my ideal politician, but he at least knows how to conduct himself in the high office he will occupy for just a few more days.

OK. The past is going to recede quickly. I want to deal in the moment with what we have in front of us. To my way of thinking, we will welcome a president who will restore the office to the stature it deserves. We also will have a vice president who, if Joe Biden follows the script he and Barack Obama wrote when they took office in 2009, will be the last person in the room when it’s decision time.

Welcome aboard, President Biden and Vice President Harris!

So much good awaits the nation

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will confront many challenges when they take office in nine days.

A coronavirus pandemic continues to rampage across the land; an economy is still shedding jobs because of that pandemic; the nation must rebuild its alliances around the world; it also must confront our adversaries, including those who have attacked our nation’s cyber networks.

However, we also can await some good news from the new government executive team. One of them will include the lack of demagoguery from the new president.

Joe Biden pledges to be president for all Americans. I believe him. Yes, I voted for him and for VP Harris. Part of my vote came with my trust that he is a man of his word. We endured four years of listening to a president say certain things, but do other things in contradiction to what he said.

Mexico would pay for The Wall; not so. The “American carnage” would stop; it only has gotten worse, as evidenced by the insurrection this past week on Capitol Hill. The pandemic was “under control”; it is running wildly out of control.

The immediate past president tweeted hourly. His policy pronouncements and top-level firings have become damn near legendary. President Biden is highly unlikely to forgo that form of communication.

A president with no government experience made a shambles of our government norms. The new president with decades of government experience will  restore them. He pledges to restore our national “soul.” I also believe in the sincerity of that promise.

I look forward to normal behavior and an absence of blind, raucous demagoguery from our commander in chief.

Big challenges await. So does some major promise.

These wounds won’t heal quickly

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s start with the obvious.

The wounds on our nation inflicted by the rioters who stormed the Capitol Building this week won’t heal any time soon. They will fester at least for as long as the nation remains transfixed on the doings of the man who instigated the riot: Donald John Trump.

I want the wounds to heal a soon as possible. However, I believe we need to remain vigilant and alert to what brought the havoc to the doorstep of our democracy.

Donald Trump will be gone from the White House in 11 days. The House of Representatives appears set to impeach for a second time early next week. The Senate isn’t likely to convene a trial in time to decide whether to convict him. Still, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be in office on Jan. 20 and they can get right to work dealing with the issues that matter the most.

Like, oh, that pandemic.

Trump wants to remain a political factor. My strong hope is that if the House impeaches him and the Senate convenes a trial after he leaves office that senators can muster up some sort of nerve and approve a provision that bans Trump from seeking public office ever again. He has proved demonstrably that he is unfit for public office. I want the Senate to codify that unfitness with an outright ban.

None of that will silence the mobsters who stormed into the Capitol Building. They could surface again. Indeed, there appear to be threats that Trumpsters could demonstrate on the day that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take office. Our fondest hope should be that the D.C. police force is better prepared to respond to violence if it presents itself a second time.

Even as we allow time to lapse from the events of this past Wednesday we should be as alert to the rumblings from within our nation as we have continued to be to those we hear from terrorists abroad.

The rioters who stormed into the seat of our representative democracy are domestic terrorists who inflicted grievous damage on our system of government.

Donald Trump’s exit from the political stage cannot occur quickly enough. He’ll be gone, but the damage he and his followers have done will take time to heal.

Time makes Person of Year pick … sigh

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I’ll be candid: Time magazine’s selection for Person of the Year is not the choice I wanted the venerable publication to make.

It’s not that I object strenuously with Time naming President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris as its Person of the Year. It is that I wanted the mag to honor an entire category of human beings: those on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus … namely the first responders, health care workers, educators. Those folks are society’s heroes and they earned the honor of Person of the Year.

But that’s just me, I suppose.

As for the president- and vice president-elect, they indeed made history. They defeated the most corrupt, amoral, venal and disgraceful presidential administration in U.S. history. They did so convincingly. Joe Biden deserves kudos for making history by selecting Kamala Harris, the first black and first candidate of South Asian descent to run with him as vice president.

They both acquitted themselves well on the campaign trail. They have rolled up 81 million votes en route to a solid Electoral College majority. Biden and Harris are assembling a first-class team with which to govern.

In some ways, the Time choice is the politically safe choice. Winning presidents (and this case winning VPs) often get the Person of the Year nod.

However, the pandemic is the overwhelming story of 2020. The chief element of that story, in my view, has been the heroism displayed in hospital emergency rooms, ICU rooms and the bedsides of COVID-19 patients; moreover, there have been heroes abounding in our classrooms as educators seek to teach our children amid the threat of exposure to a potentially deadly virus.

And this heroism is a worldwide phenomenon.

So, I’ll accept Time’s choice simply as the editors’ call. It’s not one I would have made but it’s their magazine, their decision.

Just to be clear — one more time: I am delighted that we’re about to welcome Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our new president and vice president.

Biden, Harris set a refreshing pace

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I just watched our new president and vice president on TV, interviewed together for the first time since the election.

My first  reaction? What a remarkable change from what we have endured for the past four years!

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris spoke candidly, openly and thoroughly with CNN’s Jake Tapper, who I should add did not lob only softball questions at them. They spoke clearly and cleanly about whether they would allow family members to stay involved in business interests that could conflict with their roles as president and VP; they both said “no.”

And so … we are heading toward a return to the norms of the nation’s highest offices that Donald Trump has trashed.

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to when President Biden and Vice President Harris take their oaths of office.

I no longer want to see public policy dished out via Twitter; Biden says it won’t happen. Nor do I want to see the president bullying and pressuring the attorney general to investigate so-and-so for such-and-such; Biden says that won’t happen, either. I yearn for a return to this nation as a world leader among the nations of the world; Biden and Harris said the United States will restore our alliances.

I want the president and vice president to lead our fight against the COVID pandemic by demonstrating they, too, will wear masks and practice social distancing. President-elect Biden said he will issue a direct order as president that anyone doing business in federal buildings will be wearing masks and staying apart from each other; moreover, he pledged tonight to ask all Americans to mask up for the first 100 days of the Biden administration.

Biden believes nationwide mask-wearing will help reduce the rate of infection, illness and death. If he wants us to wear a mask, then I am going to do as he asks.

Yes, the nation is about to leave the age of chaos and confusion on the side of the road. I like what I heard tonight from the new team.

Waiting for the pageantry

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am a sucker for pageantry. I love military parades. I love patriotic music. I even get caught up in pomp and circumstance.

It’s especially true when it comes to presidential inaugurations. I guess you’ve heard but we have one of those coming up. It’s fewer than 60 days from today.

President Joe Biden will take office. His wife, Jill, will hold a Bible and Chief Justice John Roberts will instruct the president to recite 35 words contained in the presidential oath.

The pageantry will be immense, even if it’s scaled back. The coronavirus pandemic is likely to inhibit the crowd size that will be gathered before the new president and the former presidents who will be there to witness his moment of pageantry.

The absence of President Biden’s immediate predecessor won’t inhibit the majesty of the moment. I don’t expect to see Donald Trump there, given that he won’t acknowledge that Biden actually beat the stuffing out of him in the Nov. 3 election.

So what if he takes a pass? No big shakes for me, to be honest.

I am going to focus my attention on the new team, led by a new president, who will seek to right the ship of state that has been listing badly for the past four years.

Yes, the lunacy of the campaign, the tragedy of the pandemic, the chaos associated with the transition will do nothing to distract me from the pageantry and majesty that awaits as we welcome a new president and vice president.

I’ll make an admission, too. I am likely to shed a tear or two as Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden receive these words once they take their oaths: “Congratulations, Mme. Vice President” and “Congratulations, Mr. President.”

Yep, the pageantry gets me every time.

Cheers to the career politician

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The term “career politician” long ago became a four-letter word.

People would toss the term out there with the sound of derision in their voice. Well, I intend at this moment to tell you that the term does not deserve the derision it attracts.

President-elect Joe Biden is a career politician who has devoted his adult life to public service. I am going to place my faith in my belief that the nation’s next president is going to parlay that commitment to public service into constructive governance as the head of the executive branch of the federal government.

Contrast that with the pre-political background that his predecessor, Donald Trump, brought to the presidency. Trump spent his entire adult life to enriching himself. He sought to make buckets of money. Trump took that background with him into the White House.

There can be no doubt about the effect that a non-political background brought to the presidency. It brought relentless chaos.

Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris tonight spoke to the nation in their new elevated roles. They spoke to a nation’s aspirations and renewed their pledge to “restore the soul of the nation.”

So now the job will begin. Trump hasn’t conceded anything. He might never concede to the president-elect. As a Biden campaign aide said tonight, the Constitution doesn’t require a concession from the losing presidential candidate. All it spells out is that the winner must accrue enough Electoral College votes to take office. Biden and Harris have done that.

They bring a record of public service to the nation’s highest, greatest and most exalted political perch.

I won’t shy away from recognizing that the next president is a career politician. After what we’ve been through for the past four years, we need someone in the presidency who knows and understands the complexity of governance.

President-elect Biden’s experience has prepared him well for the task he and the vice president-elect are about to assume.