The Wrong Perspective On A Joe Biden Black Vice President
The spiritual game-changing police murder of George Floyd has increased the call by many for a Joe Biden Black Vice President. Spiritually and symbolically this is a grand and noble quest, but philosophically and functionally it’s a flawed proposition.
Most advocates of a Joe Biden Black Vice President base their support around 4 propositions:
1) That a Biden Black Vice President would be an advocate of an American Black progressive agenda that the 77-year-old Joe Biden is out of touch with.
2) Based on the current racial turmoil throughout America a Biden Black Vice President would be a strong symbol for healing racial wounds.
3) A Biden Black Vice President nominee will assure maximum American Black voter turnout.
4) Based on the strength and loyalty of the American Black vote for Biden, he owes it to American Blacks
A Vice President as an advocate of a different political agenda than the President might be in line with the initial thinking of the founding fathers. Because the first 3 persons who served as Vice President, from 1789–1805, were selected because they received the 2nd most votes to be President. In other words, 2 people ran against each other to be President, the winner became President the loser became Vice President. This turned out to be politically unworkable from the very first time it was truly put to the test after the election of 1796, the election to replace George Washington America’s 1st President who had run unopposed in 1789 and 1792.
In 1796 incumbent Vice President John Adams of the Federalist Party defeated then former Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican Party. The election results meant that the President and the Vice President were political adversaries and not political allies. In President Adams and Vice President Jefferson’s case, they were toxic political enemies who created a toxic governing environment for America. Realizing then what’s still true today, that disharmony and daylight between the President and the Vice President don’t work, Congress passed the 12th Amendment to the Constitution changing how the Vice President was elected.
That has evolved to the current system of electing the President and Vice President as ONE team. The Vice President and a President’s Chief of Staff are the 2 positions that even within a President’s inner circle of Cabinet and staff, can show no daylight between them and the President. A Vice President should always be honest with a President, but his honesty is not best expressed in a cabinet meeting, it is best expressed when he and the President are alone 1 on 1, or obviously unless the President directs him to do so in the presence of others.
A Vice President’s true purpose is to be there as both a supporter of and as a supporter to the President, a Vice President is also both a public and private cheerleader of and to the President. The Vice President adapts to the President, the President does not adapt to the Vice President. The Vice President emulates the President, the President does not emulate the Vice President. Joe Biden doesn’t need a Vice President, white or black, to advocate their political programs or ideology to him, Joe Biden needs a Vice President, white or black, to help him carry out his programs and ideology!!!
In terms of racial healing and maximizing American Black voter turnout, a symbolic Biden Black Vice President lets Joe Biden off the hook of producing tangible results for American Blacks to easily and to cheaply!!!
American Blacks have already gotten political symbolism, a degree of political racial healing, and maximum voter turnout from a historic White House when an American Black, with an African sounding name, occupied the top spot of President. American Black children have now seen proof they too can be President, so they are smart enough to know potentially becoming #2 as a Vice President is a given. Let’s integrate Barack Obama’s political symbolism with economic symbolism by demanding a Biden Black Treasury Secretary or Biden Black Federal Reserve Chair. Let’s symbolize to American Black children that they can grow up to count and manage the nation’s money or regulate the world’s largest economy.
Unlike a Biden Black Vice President, a Biden Black Treasury Secretary or any Cabinet Secretary can have a degree of daylight with the President, some are selected with the intent that they will advocate different political policies than the President, but with the understanding that the President determines the final policy, they will implement. So American Black advocacy can be appropriately found in a Cabinet Secretary but would be inappropriate if found in a Biden Black Vice President.
Joe Biden can’t address American Black economic disparity simply by having a Biden Black Vice President, but he can with a former Mayor of Atlanta Maynard Jackson style federal Minority/Majority Joint Venture Business Program, Jackson’s joint venture program made the City of Atlanta the American Black entrepreneur capital of America. Instead of demanding a Biden Black Vice President, demand a federal Biden Black Minority/Majority Joint Venture Business Program. If it’s done the Atlanta way it would create hundreds of new American Black businesses, and thousands of new jobs for American Blacks throughout all of America.
American Blacks make up 13% of the U.S. population but 38% of the U.S. prison population, American Whites make up 61% of the U.S. population but only 58% of the U.S. prison population. Instead of a Biden Black Vice President demand that for a Biden Attorney General, white or black, job 1 is to correct the hindsight mistakes of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also known as the 3 Strikes Crime Law that Biden authored, and finish the criminal justice reform that both the Obama and Trump administrations have started.
Last and most IMPORTANTLY, the Voting Rights Act is on life support clinging to life with the use of a second-hand first-generation ventilator. In 2013 the Supreme Court infected the Voting Rights Act with a Conserva-virus when it voted 5–4 to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the pre-clearance requirement before making changes that impact a citizen’s ability to vote. The recent voter turmoil we see playing out in the state of Georgia proves the stupidity of their decision.
Joe Biden’s commitment to using his presidential might to create a resurrected, restored, and strengthened Voting Rights Act, along with the American Black he has already committed to appointing to the Supreme Court will create many more future Black Vice Presidents than his chose of one present-day Biden Black Vice President.
Black Democrats must take full advantage of the political leverage they currently possess within the Democratic Party and of their voting impact on the American electorate, and not sell themselves cheap for a bright but powerless vice-presidential symbol.
If Joe Biden commits to delivering:
- The economic symbolism of a Black Treasury Secretary or Black Federal Reserve Chair
- The substance of a federal Black Minority/Majority Joint Venture Business Program creating hundreds of new black businesses and thousands of new black jobs
- A Biden Criminal Justice Hindsight Cleanup of the 3 Strikes Law and a New Reforms Initiative such as elimination of mandatory sentencing and reclassification of some drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors
- An already promised Black Supreme Court appointment
- A restored and strengthened nation-wide Voting Rights Act
I say to the American Blacks who are demanding the cheap price of a ride in the front passenger seat, of the white car American Blacks, drove for 8 years and will drive again, as an American Black whose dear mother taught me the respectful and proper use of the King’s English, but strictly for dramatic emphasis, I say F*CK A JOE BIDEN BLACK VICE PRESIDENT!!!
Isaac Newton Farris Jr. is the nephew of Martin Luther King, Jr. and serves as Senior Fellow at the King Center. Growing up in one of the most socially and politically active families has given him a unique perspective on current events. Drop by his website for straight talk free of one-sided political spin.
Originally published at https://isaacnewtonfarris.com on June 15, 2020.